This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bulk pickup

This is the week of bulk pickup, and it is always remarkable how much stuff some people haul out to the curb. Here are several piles that I thought quite impressive.
The pile below was just down the block from the first. It was almost as if they were having a contest to see who could have the bigger pile.
The people were still building this one when I took the picture. They had a big yard sale on Saturday and said that they were moving, so they have a good reason for a big pile.
I do not remember where I took the picture below. It looks like there are quite a few bags of clothes, and that gets me to one of my pet peeves about bulk pickup. A lot of what people throw away is trash, but some of it is still very usable. If it is usable, then they can find a better way to dispose of it. For example, Jasper Junction will take it. If that is too much bother, it is good for them to invite others to take what they want.
For example, I talked to the lady who was putting out this pile. She had a sign on the dryer saying that it worked and that it was free. I asked about the string. It came from a factory at which she had worked and she said it would be useful to someone who crocheted. The boxes on the dryer were computer software for the Microsoft Windows as well as a version of Linux. (I use a Mac, so none of it interested me.) There was also an old computer. A few years ago I picked up old computers for parts, but with the introduction of UBS and faster drive interfaces, few parts from old computers have any use. When I went by this house two days after I took the picture above, most of the items, including the dryer and computer software, were gone.

Below is a couch I saw on Sunday morning. It was gone by Sunday evening. We put out a recliner that has broken springs. It was gone within a few hours. I hope the new owners enjoy it.
Old chairs and old microwaves are the sorts of things that bulk pickup is designed for. I would be surprised if any of the stuff in the picture below was picked up by scavengers, but people do pick up the strangest things.
I was looking for a kitchen sink to photograph, but the closest I got was the broken toilet below.
Here is another big pile of clothes. See the comments above.
A house on Home Avenue had this sign out front. If you cannot read it, it says, "Do not go through the garbage. I will get your license and call the police."
Below is their precious trash that is too good for the scavengers. It looks like there is some clothing and other reusable items there. The city does have an ordinance that stipulates a $50 fine for scavenging bulk-pickup piles. I understand the purpose of that rule--there are some people who do scatter things and make a mess of the piles. However, scavengers perform a useful service by keeping things out of the landfills and by recycling usable items. I would be sympathetic to this household if what they were pitching was really trash and not, judging from the little that is visible, items that could be used by others.
I included the picture below because I thought the tank on the right was interesting. I do not know what it is.
There is always a variety of exercise equipment on the curb. I guess people buy it with good intentions, then find that they do not use it enough to justify the space it uses in their houses or apartments. I would be surprised if the two items below were still there when the city crews come by.
These chairs were once nice. If you had enough time, they could be restored.
When I was near Monnett School I stopped to take several pictures. As I was taking this one, a voice from the house cried out, "What are you doing?" I replied that I was taking a picture. The voice commanded me to stop and to get off the yard, which was strange because I was on the city street. Then the voice told me that she was going to call the police. I told her that that was fine with me. So if the police are looking for the guy who was on the city street taking a picture of someone's garbage near Monnett School, I probably am the guy they are looking for.
Perhaps the lady thought that scavenging meant taking pictures.

When the day comes that it is illegal to stand on the city street and take a picture of someone's garbage, freedom will have been extinguished in America.

On Monday morning the gals and boys of the bulk pickup were out in force. The lead vehicle is the garbage truck and the last is picking up branches. I am not sure what the others are doing, but each picks up something different. (Missing in this picture is the backhoe that also travels with the group.)
There is a poll on the sidebar. Please vote. And if you have good bulk-pickup stories, share in the comments.

Addendum: I had a poll in the sidebar when this post first ran asking if the city should discourage scavenging. Twenty four people responded: 4 said yes, 19 no, and I did not know what scavenging was. One comment noted that the scavenging ordinance would discourage lawsuits by anyone injured while scavenging, a good insight. Everything seems lawyer driving these days.

Do you think the city should discourage "scavenging" during bulk pickup?
What is scavenging?
I do not know. free polls


The DIYer said...

WOW, such waste!! A LOT of those items looked like they were still useable, but hey, we live in the land of consume, consume, consume, consume, and then throw a fit when we run out of money and are up to our eyeballs in debt and have to cut back (from getting luxurious double lattes to the bare necessity of a single latte).

The first photo shows an old garden hose reel. Wait a tick, that can still be useful (

Our society's wastefulness is right up there with people who litter on my pet peeve scale.

Oh, and you may still be able to take pictures of garbage from public streets, but our freedom to take photos of top Democrats courting corporate lobbyists on public sidewalks is long gone

A student said...

So apparently, the big trash pick-up gives people a pass on recycling? I saw so many photos with cardboard boxes.

What did the woman who yelled at you think you were doing? Didn't she set out the chair because it was "waste" according to her? So what does it matter if you were taking a photo of it, or if you were going to take it (on the back of your bike, I assume!)?

And why don't people want you going through their garbage? Do they have dead bodies hiding in it or something?

This is all so wasteful. It has made me very sad when I was driving through the streets of Rensselaer. Do people not get charged for this trash? I love Rensselaer's recycling program. I wish that they would send out the recycling truck along with the garbage man. Sad.

30-year-refugee said...

very entertaining look at spring clean up.

Anonymous said...

The City of Rensselaer needs to do some Freecycle cooperation and it will cut down on the scavaging, especially if it doesn't have the law enforcement manpower to enforce the existing ordinance.

Check out for more information. There might already be a freecycle group organised for the Jasper County area!

I can tell you that I've done A LOT of Spring cleaning and wardrobe clearing thanks to Freecycle.

- Elle