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Most suburbs all over Perth have what’s known as the bulk kerbside rubbish collection which is run by the local council. Basically any junk you don’t want is put out on the street verge for the local council to pick up and take away. This happens two or three times a year.


End of the road for these chairs

As a consequence, all manner of junk gets put out… TV’s. refrigerators, furniture, bbqs, microwave ovens, computers, beds, mattresses, cardboard anything and everything. I’m surprised quite often to see household appliances thrown out which are only a few years old..obviously not built to last.

To some people, this is nothing but junk and good riddance to it… take it away please. But to others, it’s like a drive thru/kerbside supermarket where the price is always right, complete with no hassle return if your not satisfied. Well.. like the saying goes ‘satisfaction, or double your rubbish back!’ lol

Video recorder

Video killed the radio star.. now video is thrown out!

Video recorder

Microwave oven

Microwave – thrown out – BING!

Large TV thrown out

The show is truly over for this large television

Chair thrown out

No no! not the comfy chair!

Briefcase thrown out

Briefcase full of money perhaps?

Now what appears to be worthless junk on the side of the road to some people… is, for others something of value and well worth stopping to do ‘pickup‘. In fact, come Sunday afternoon there is a procession of vehicles including small trucks driving around picking up unwanted and discarded goods. It amazes me what people throw out sometimes, no wonder people pick this stuff up I’ve seen furniture thrown out better than what I’ve got! aiyo!

Sometimes I see people picking up items that would be of little value(or so I think), such as old washing machines and dryers, but for these people they know something I don’t… for there must be some value in these items. Perhaps they plan to do a lot of washing… or maybe they are one of those tinkerer/mad scientist type robot builders working on the next Terminator prototype. “I’ll be back!!….for your Fisher & Paykel washing machine“. 😮

But more likely, they are stripping the parts out of the machines and selling them on Ebay for easy money. Hmm clever.


With increasing amounts on computers being thrown out, these are recently being targeted by ‘Hi-Tech’ collectors mainly for components inside such as CPU’s, hard drives and RAM. Oh… I hope people who throw these computers out remember to erase any sensitive information on the hard drive. Ummm and those naked pics of yourself haha 😉

Well good on people for picking up this stuff and making use of it. This is grassroots recycling, and goes to show that recycling doesn’t need to involve government departments with recycling strategies, steering committees and multinational companies with huge sorting machines. What is more interesting, that this type of recycling just occurs without anyone organising it, people do it because they can directly benefit from doing it and will continue to do so. In addition people throwing the stuff out are more than likely glad to see their former possessions being used in some productive way instead of becoming landfill.

no money in briefcase aiyo!

Aiyo! No money in briefcase 🙁


21 Responses to “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

  1. peewee says:

    Recycling is good! E-Waste is bad…

  2. Darylarn says:

    I have been bulk rubbishing for almost 5 years now.
    Many times I am amazed at the wastefulness of our modern society.
    It seems that if it’s not new, or has no immediate use, then throw it out.
    What a waste.
    I am writing this comment on a Pentium 4, AMD 2400+ computer that I built from spare parts that I found in bulk rubbish.
    I also found (from 1 house) 8 peices of dark woodgrain furntiure that was being disowned by it’s previous owner because it didn’t match thier decore!
    To anyone starting out in thier first home, or anyone that says they can’t afford almost ANY household item, think strongly about getting a trailer and visiting a few bulk rubbish areas at least once every 6 months. I can guarantee that after a few trips you will have a whole houseful of all the items you need.
    And concider this if you think that going around and picking up other peoples discarded goods if beneath you. Something new, is only new the split second you buy it. After that it becomes second hand.
    I have a house full of ‘second hand’ goods. All courtesy of Bulk Refuse collections, and, the wasteful nature of modern people.
    “It’s not scabbing, it’s Urban Recycling”

  3. Kate says:

    What a breath of fresh air your article was to read! I can honestly say that the best part of my holiday period this year was going ‘junk’ collecting with my dad and whoever else would go with me. I saw that they recommended doing this on the show ‘money for jam’ but was wondering exactly what the legal implications of collecting these goods are, are we stealing off the council and do all the goods go to landfill or to dump recycle shops? This I would really like to know as I will feel more comfortable collecting if I know for sure I am also helping the environment. 🙂

  4. Jeff says:

    Hi Kate,

    Officially you should ask the homeowner first before taking it, but this often impractical. From my experience, nearly all home owners are super happy to know that someone can make use of something they don’t need rather than it being crushed up when goes in the back of the truck.
    Many times I have seen a sign placed on an item such as a TV or washing machine “works, please take”. The very monitor I am using now had a similiar sign, so i grabbed it and is being put to use…had I not taken it, it would have been part of landfill polluting up the environment.
    Always being polite and show some courtesy, also don’t make a mess allowing rubbish to blow away onto the road… that’s the part that really upsets councils. Take a professional approach to this.

  5. brad says:

    I personally look for antique n retro furniture as a lot of larger stuff doesn’t get scavegened and most of it needs only one basic repair or repolishing or marrying two pieces together too make a new item
    ie. a good top off a table with broken legs too mach a good set of legs from a table with no good or broken top.
    I have also noticed a great lack of younger people rummaging as if they’re pride or ego’s stop them. Ashame as they are the ones buying all the laminaty chipboard rubbish which cannot be reused and only lasts a few years, where as stuff 50years old is still good made of REAL TIMBER and is worth fixing.

  6. Jeff says:

    Brad: Yep I agree. Most prospectors tend to be middle aged. Perhaps it’s a combination of wisdom, motivation and spare time.
    Furniture is great stuff to pick up, although I’ve had to leave many furniture items because of the shear size and weight. Certainly, the mix and match method works well for office chairs I’ve found. Working gas strut bases can be easily put onto clean seats, resulting in a very nice unit.
    Your right about cheap crappy chipboard furniture, I see that all to often as well. Some things just weren’t made to last more than few years.


  7. Daniela says:

    I strongly believe in recycling and yes, we do live in a throw away society! Therefore……the more people out there picking up all those treasures put out there on the verge, the better. Most of what I have in my house comes from bulk rubbish collection. Recycling should become an integral part of our everyday life…a way of life!
    What I though find hard to accept is why do people throw away beautiful items instead of donating them to charitable organization? Many of these organizations are willing to come to your place for collection of unwanted, in good condition items.


  8. Hoops says:

    I was actually looking for the locations when I came across this article and thought I might mention a couple of my experiences. I just scored 2 cupboards, a pantry, 2 large shadecloths, a multiple garden pot stand, a wheelbarrow, shovel, gutter guard, lawn kerbing and some retic. All extremely handy right now as I am doing up my house and garden. A few years ago I got an art deco lamp that just needed the cord changed that cost me $5.00 the lamp is worth at least $450.00.
    I met a guy at a bar who had found a piano stool with one leg broken on the side of the road, he made and fixed a new leg to it, put it on the Antiques Roadshow program where the presenter said, “Now if you turn this chair upside down you will see the King’s crest on it which means it was made in such and such year. There is one leg that has been broken but fixed by a master craftsman back in the day, which just adds more to the tale of this chair. We’re going to value it at $20 000.00”
    They rang him after the show and asked if he would like the chair sent back otherwise they had a buyer, needless to say he took the cash.

  9. Erina says:

    Haha Hoops, I was just searching for dates and places too when I come across this site!
    I need a couple of bookcases. Love it when I find something I wasn’t even looking for but needed.
    I have been rummaging thru what we call inorganics since I was really young.
    I love it! I also can’t believe the things that get thrown out sometimes, but at my house it is the same, and ours is almost completely gone before the truck shows up. I’ve even ran outside to catch people going thru our stuff to see if they want any other similar items still to be put out.
    I just need to find somewhere that is having it at the moment so I can find me some bookshelves!

  10. marlee says:

    hey i have at the moment a LG washing machine rrp for this is 2400 and it works a dream so not everything put out on verge is junk lol

  11. Matt says:

    I was also cruising for dates when I found this, and it’s a nice post. I occasionally go scavenging for computers – partly because there’s a good chance of getting now-vintage machines, and party they’re easier to get home than fridges. I recently struggled home with a 42″ plasma screen, and was shocked to find it actually worked perfectly.

    If anybody is interested, there’s a map covering a lot of the perth area with the vergeside collection dates. Links to the map and a quick explanation are here. It misses a few suburbs but might be useful.

  12. Jeff says:

    Nice work Matt.. thanks for that.


  13. sue says:

    i dont have a problem with people taking things from the junk pile i put out but i do have a problem how they leave a mess and i have to constantly go out and tidy it back up as they throw things every where including the road.if they are going to rummage thru then they should have the courtesy to leave it tidy. we put a old tv out that worked and someone cut the cord off which i find very wierd.

  14. Justine says:

    Apparently (I’ve heard) the cord being cut off items could be one of 2 things – either they are stripping it for the copper OR they have removed something from inside & cut off the cord so it can’t be used and possibly hurt someone. Not sure which one is true !
    And I also HATE the ones who leave a mess – go ahead & open every box, dig through every bag but for the love of god DON’T leave it all strewn everywhere. Please take the 2 seconds to tidy up.
    Worst is the ones who tip TVs over breaking the glass & tube in the process, hack out the back for some components then drive away leaving fine, sharp glass shards just waiting for the poor local kids 🙁

  15. Jenna says:

    I work on kerb side collecting white goods and metals… when people cut the cords from appliances it is for the copper… but alot of people strip appliances on kerb side and take what they want and leave the rest and they are not allowed to do that… when we go through items we make sure every thing is neat and tidy… its those people that make the mess that give us workers a bad name

  16. Kristen says:

    I just found this article while looking up the dates for collections 🙂
    I am a younger person, and me and my partner like to go ‘scavenging’ as we call it. He likes to find old gym equipment (things people have bought with intention to use but obviously gave up on!)and I like to find old antique or ‘retro’ things. I find it sad that people are throwing out old things that are no longer made. Yesterday I happened to find a box of old books from the 40’s and 50’s! What luck that I came and rescued them. I also got a very nice luggage bag that would have been made in the 50’s or 60’s. I love it, and it is in pretty good condition for its age!

  17. Sorcha says:

    Hi in WA it is in theory illegal to take verge collection items, they belong to the council. I’ve been told this by police (when I had a car boot full of bounty!) and local councils. Apparently in one area there was a problem with the contractor doing the verge pick up, part of the contract is that they get to keep the scrap metal, and ‘scavengers’ had done such a good job that they hardly got any. Councils don’t really care about the smaller items though:)

  18. Jeff says:

    Hi Sorcha, It’s an interesting legal question. Though the police may say that for convience sake, it would need to be tested in court for ruling. I would say there would a strong case to say the goods have been abandonded, as clearly they have been put out on the verge discarded as rubbish and free for all the take. If not that, then another case can be put forward to argue the goods still belong to the original owner until they are picked up by the council. However you may ask the original owner for permission to take them.


  19. Steve Riggs says:

    Those bulk rubbish should be donated to charity or be sold on yard sales. In our countries, those stuff mean a lot for them.

  20. dan says:

    Tending to find every manner of good things thrown out and discarded i think it’s awesome that anybody can use any number of the millions of wasted things that they may not be able to afford.like collecting or just suprised to find something they never thought they would find that they wanted and for whatever reason didnt already have,A low incom family could save thousands just by picking up furniture.whitegoods.household goods.sporting equipment.The majority of people are happy to see thier unwanted things reused.Recycling is the way of the future.

  21. matt says:

    Hi does anyone know a good website to check out when and where the bulk rubbish is happening in your city?

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