Bountiful booty from the kerb
By Julia Iles
How do you get a 400 Watt amplifier, Sanyo CD boom box, brand new toaster, bike pump, four pool cues, four cabinet speakers, a TV with remote and aerial at the discount price of nothing?
Peruse through the neighbours' rubbish before it is picked up as part of the free kerbside clean-up, like a South Grafton teenager and his friends did.
"It was great to get all of the stuff, Junction Hill had the best things, we are definitely going to go down to Maclean and Yamba when the pick up is on down there," he said.
"We just drove past the houses slowly and looked out to see if we wanted anything, then argued about who would go and pick it up, sure I felt a bit ashamed about doing it."
Since February 6, trucks picking up household items that will not fit in weekly garbage collection services have circulated through South Grafton and Grafton areas.
Garbage man Rob Tipper who with Peter Burke, is running one of the garbage trucks has watched the crusher in the back of the truck flatten refrigerators, washing machines and televisions.
"It does it really easily, I think with fridges it does release a small amount of gas," he said.
"We've seen everything being thrown out, I saw a brand new hotplate and at one place there were 30 bicycle wheels."
The men agree that it is good exercise picking up the items which can often be quite bulky.
Mr Burke has picked up three Indian copper kettles and keeps his eyes open for buried treasure.
"The worst thing we've seen are syringes which sometimes get left out," he said.
After finishing Grafton they will go onto Yamba and Iluka areas on February 27 and complete their work after the final pick up in Maclean which starts on March 6.
Manager of sustainability for the Clarence Valley Council Peter Birch said since the council amalgamation the kerbside clean up hadn't happened before.
"The councillors and especially the mayor were really strong about having a major clean-up as it used to happen down river but hadn't been done for awhile," he said.
"After the items are collected they will all be taken to the regional landfill out on Armidale Road."
Mr Birch said the items will be sorted, and many of the materials will be recycled including nonferrous metals.