Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thelma, Louise, and little boy Blue

On Friday afternoon, we scheduled a roadtrip.  Sort of like Thelma and Louise, but in a 4 wheel drive with a trailer.  We had an earlybird look at a friend's garage sale, the Denmark tipshop, and a visit to the fabulous South Coast Woodworking Gallery to complete, plus a visit to a friend's farm, to pick up some old fenceposts.

A fellow salvage fiend was home from his swing on the rigs and was coming with us, he had been trying to get to the tipshop for ages but never quite had the time.  Let's call him "Blue". 

Our babies are well grown up, but we decided that it was like taking our little boy out for a drive in the country.  He curled up in the back and went to sleep like a good little boy, virtually as soon as we got on the road.  At the tip shop, his eyes were like a kid in a toyshop. 

That tipshop is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so it was a positively seething mass of people dropping off and scanning the goods which had come in through the week. We picked up a solid pine single bed (for the timber - $5 instead of $100's at Bunnings), a slab of timber for cutting boards,  a metal frame, a galvanised thingy for making cement slabs (NOT for making cement slabs), and a bunch of other bits and pieces. 

My friend came out $2 up because a guy had bought a door, but didn't have a roof rack on his sedan. He got some pillows from the tipshop and my friend sold him some old rope (we travel prepared)and he tied it on the roof. Tying the doors closed caused some delay.

We filled the trailer with fenceposts on the way home, although we were disappointed that the lichen encrustation wasn't quite as hoped.  I suspect our friend the farmer took a dim view of my suggestion that he give the posts a quarter of a turn a day (each) to even them up.

On Saturday, we went to the local Albany tip shop,as always behind the play.  The game has been lifted somewhat of late, and more stuff is getting recycled, I suspect after a lot of ratepayer complaint.  The thinking, however, remains steadfastly inside the box, and a small box at that.

While we were there, someone came in with one of those pine folding cots with the canvas base.  He was told that they couldn't take it due to 'toddler issues'.  Unfortunately, no-one bothered to think that it could be turned upside down without the base and used as a puppy pen; or that the dowel and wood in it could be re-used.  Rather than sending it to landfill, my friend had a quiet word, it was transferred from car to car, and it will be repurposed for non-toddler applications. It was, for the record, absolutely mint.

While we were there, someone brought in a sail from a sailboard.  The functionary told someone that he was supposed to check e-bay and Gumtree to check current prices, but then straightaway sold it for $10 without checking.  It turned out that the person didn't even have $10 so he 'put it aside' till the man came back - in spite of the sign saying it isn't to happen.

The main problem at the Albany tipshop is that there is no real commitment to recycling. They just don't get it.  By 'they' I mean primarily Cleanaway, who run the shop and make the policies, but some of the staff they hire really just aren't interested. (Some are great.) The terms 'repurpose' and 'upcycle' do not seem to be in the vocabulary.  

The tipshop is under-resourced and some of the rules are silly.  If they can't accept upholstered furniture, what about the shoes?  What if I get a blister?  Why does vintage wooden furniture get sent to landfill, but damaged chipboard get put aside for sale?  We got some jarrah beams from the firewood pile.  They turned out to be the posts from the jarrah beds we got a couple of weeks ago.  About $150 worth of old, dressed, (nail free) jarrah.  For firewood. I hope I don't get a splinter.

Timber, dressed or otherwise, is considered not saleable and sent straight to landfill.  A tiny percentage is set aside for firewood.

The Denmark tip, for all the disorganisation, at least has the right idea and the support of the community. We rarely walk away empty handed at Denmark, whereas at Albany we frequently do.

Perhaps Greenskills should tender for the contract for the Albany tip.  There are art projects. Community education. They walk the talk on tipshop recycling. 

And I would hazard a guess that the stock, as well as the cash turnover at Denmark well outstrips that at Albany.

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