Australia

Piles of Excess

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There was a vast difference in the standard of the ‘junk’ piled high on the curb at the height of Brisbane’s flood clean up.

Some of the poorer suburbs whose inhabitants were uninsured, were cleaning what they could. The ‘save’ pile was bigger than the one headed for land fill.

Having helped out in several affluent suburbs, I could only wonder if some of the mud-coated items could have been salvaged and given to a worthy recipient in a poorer suburb.

I understand the panic and insurmountable task of cleaning the putrid, mud-coated contents of a home but amidst all the heartache, someone should have had the foresight to take charge and redistribute.


It was simply not politically correct to even suggest such a thing.

In the aftermath of the devastation, no-one was willing to take up the charge. Yet, as I observed the clearly new washable wicker furniture lying alongside a perfectly good stainless steel fridge (which according to my electrician source, could be hosed and salvaged,) I couldn’t help thinking they could be saved. Instead, they would be crushed and added as land fill.

In all fairness, not everyone was keen to throw away. Some homeowners who had been holidaying overseas returned to find volunteers had done if for them.

A friend, on her fourth day of volunteering her help to clean up in an upmarket suburb couldn’t contain herself.

After viewing pile upon pile of perfectly good discarded furniture and white goods, she came across a slightly muddied but otherwise sound stainless steel barbeque discarded outside a riverside mansion. Her own BBQ had quite literally fallen apart days before and this one seemed like a gift. Taking the stance that asking wasn’t looting, she decided to forgo any false modesty and approach the owner about relieving him of his discarded BBQ.

He looked at her with total amazement and said: “You don’t want that, it’s got ecoli!”

“Well, yes, I do, actually,” she said. Washed and buffed back home, it was as good as new. One less non-biodegradable item on the road to land fill.