Tennyson Kerbside Collection: How to Promote Responsible Rummaging

Tennyson, Yeronga, Yeerongpilly are up for another round of kerbside collection on Monday, the 3rd of February 2020 and every time this comes around, rummaging and scavenging concerns crop up. It’s not illegal to go through the stuff of your neighbours if it’s for disposal, but some scavengers can really make a mess. 

For years, the policy of the Brisbane City Council on scavengers has been simple: “Residents are welcome to recycle kerbside collection goods, however, they should ensure that leftover items are stacked tidily and not creating any obstructions to the footpath or roadway.” 

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Salvaging and taking items you can re-use and recycle from other people’s unwanted pile is encouraged to limit landfill buildup. However, if you’re bothered about the mess some scavengers make, below are some tips to encourage them to rummage responsibly: 

1. Label your items.

If you have an old but working toaster, electric fan, or any small but still useful appliances on your kerbside collection pile, tape a note on it. For example, a sign that says, “Not Worth Selling But Still Works” makes scavenging easier. Your neighbours won’t need to dig through your stuff — and then leave a mess! — if they can read the note right away.   

Some scavengers break items for disposal to get the parts they want. But TV sets with broken screens, for example, won’t likely be picked up by the collectors anymore as there are shards of glass around it. To discourage scavengers from breaking your old stuff, put a sign that says, “Don’t Break For Parts, Just Take The Whole TV.” 

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2. Take the wires or cables out.

Scavengers like to cut the power cords off small appliances as this is apparently the fastest way to collect copper for reselling or reusing. But the wreckage they leave on your kerb can be annoying. 

Whilst you can put a sign to encourage them to take the whole item, it might help to cut or take out the wires yourself to set it neatly on your kerbside pile. This way, the scavengers won’t have to destroy anything else as they can easily take what they want and leave. 

Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council/Facebook

3. Put your items out hours before pick up. 

Kerbside collection is at 6:00 a.m. but scavengers may already be rummaging at midnight or dawn because some folks put their items earlier. Understandably, people prepare their kerbside pile at their most convenient time, which could be days ahead of collection day. 

However, this raises the chances for scavengers to make a mess on your corner. Cleaning up after their mess is a lot more inconvenient and puts you at risk for illegal dumping fines.

Given that kerbside collection happens periodically, it will take less effort to wake up before 6:00 a.m. to set your pile and wait for the collectors to pick it up. If you can watch over your items before the collection, you can actually engage the scavengers personally and tell them, in a nice way, to leave the pile neat and orderly when they are done.