Back in May, I wrote a blog post about a garbage amnesty in Coquitlam. In the comments for that post, Chris wrote:
Victoria could certainly use this. Since moving here, it seems like many people are putting large items on their curbs anyways with signÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s announcing Ã¢â‚¬Å“FREEÃ¢â‚¬Â. It always looks a little junky. At least if it was city-sanctioned, we could limit this behaviour to a single day of the year.
After living in Victoria for a few months, I know exactly what he’s talking about. There seems to be a common practice of discarding stuff on the sidewalk for other people to pick up. Every time I’m out walking or riding, I see at least one example. It’s like freecycling without the website. Here are three I discovered in the past three days in my neighbourhood:
For some reason, closet doors are often on offer.
Avoiding the Landfill
Chris is right, it does look kind of junky. But here’s the thing–apparently it works. The free stuff rarely lingers for more than a day or two. Either city workers come by and clean it up, or people take the free stuff. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter case, because I’ve seen people picking over discarded dishes and slightly-busted furniture. Given the alternative–that the stuff ends up in a landfill–I can’t complain.
I’ve wondered if it might be a symptom of my neighbourhood’s makeup. As far as I can tell, it’s this odd combination of older people, students and well-off professionals in their fourties and fifties (this is thanks to the combination of low-rise apartments, shared old houses and renovated heritage houses). That is, there’s enough affluent people to discard stuff, and enough less affluent people to collect it. Of course, I’d imagine that the exchange happens in the reverse order as well. The point is that there’s a lot of diversity in age, need and wealth in the neighbourhood, so maybe that encourages the flow of free stuff.
Of course, I haven’t lived in a Canadian residential neighbourhood (that is, one full of houses) for a decade or so. Maybe this is commonplace, and reflective of the greening of our culture.
Is there lots of free stuff around your neighbourhood?