When I first moved to Auckland and was looking for a flat, I was disappointed at the large number of horrible-looking suburbs. Driving along streets I noticed piles of rubbish stacked up on the front verges of many properties. What sort of horrible city was I moving to?
Then I discovered it was the magic of what is known as the inorganic rubbish collection. Some cities don’t have inorganic rubbish collections because they think it looks messy. Those places are missing out on all the fun.
In Auckland, it only happens every two years, so when it does take place it’s a very special time. People get really excited about it. It’s the time where if you don’t live in a shitty neighbourhood, you can pretend you do as your neighbours fill up their grass verges with piles of old crap waiting to be hauled away.
Back when I lived in Mount Eden, there was a nearby street with almost all cheap flats down one side of it. Walking along that street to work I would often see old fridges, washing machines and unidentifiable rusty, twisted metal sitting out on the grass waiting for someone (who?) to take it away. Because the city rubbish contractors don’t take that sort of thing, it would all just sit there and gradually fall apart.
But now all those old mattresses, falling-apart couches and failed papier mache works of art will have a place to go to. Soon the yellowed grass will see the sun as the inorganic rubbish collectors come and do their thing.
One of the cool things about inorganic rubbish collection time is the scavengers. People go out looking for stuff they can take. This is especially common in wealthier suburbs, where people throw out stuff that would be happily used by others with less money (I saw a newish-looking lounge suite – a couch and two chairs – stacked up outside one place). It’s a great thing to see someone suddenly stop, pull over and squish an unwanted couch into the back of their stationwagon.
I’m pretty much keeping myself confined to the house until all the rubbish has been collected. On multiple occasions I have been out walking and seen a chair or table and thought, “hey, that’s actually in pretty good condition. All I’d need to do is sand it down, give it a coat of varnish, and reupholster the seat and I’d have a perfectly good chair!”
Of course, this fails to take into account the following:
- I have no garage or suitable work area.
- I have no sandpaper or painting equipment.
- I do not know how to upholster.
In reality, the chair would probably sit in my lounge for a few weeks before it started to go mouldy or smell and I’d sneak it out on the front lawn in the middle of the night waiting for someone (who? The inorganic rubbish fairy?) to take it away.