An old toilet, a soiled mattress, and an abandoned DVD boxset of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. What do these items have in common? They’re all gross, yes. But they’re also items you might see on a neighbour’s lawn come kerbside collection time (among some other weird things).

There comes a time in many a household item’s life where they must bow out gracefully and await their fate on the kerb. Where will destiny take them? Will they be picked up by an opportunistic kerbside crawler? Or are they doomed to waste away at the tip?

Who cares, right? The important thing is that they’re out of your house.

The long-running tradition of kerbside collection in Australia provides a great chance for ridding yourself of things you don’t want (while saving yourself from a potentially boring and definitely smelly trip to the dump). But just how in-the-know are you when it comes to your kerbside collection? We’d hate to see you getting in trouble with the waste collection officer (they mean serious business), so brush up on what you can and can’t do come kerbside collection time.

Old Mattress

Goodnight, sweet mattress. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

What You Can and Can’t Leave for Kerbside Collection in Australia

Now, you can’t just go putting things out on the lawn willy-nilly. That’s not how things work. There are certain items that won’t be accepted – and you’ll be left with a mess on your lawn and a tear in your eye.

Acceptable items:

  • Furniture
  • Whitegoods (e.g. ovens and fridges)
  • Household appliances (e.g. blenders, toasters and pedestal fans)
  • Rugs and carpet
  • Bath tubs
  • Timber products smaller than 1.5m long
  • Bicycles and sports gear
  • Electronics (e.g. TVs and laptops).

Unacceptable items:

  • Garden waste (e.g. grass, plants and branches)
  • Rocks, gravel and dirt
  • Concrete and bricks
  • Car parts, tyres and batteries
  • Liquids
  • Hazardous chemicals (e.g. paint and oil)
  • Gas bottles
  • Mirrors and other glass products
  • General waste that would typically go in your regular or recycling bin (e.g. dinner leftovers, food packaging and junk mail).

If you leave any of the unacceptable items on your kerb and they’re not removed within a certain timeframe around your area’s kerbside collection period, you may be hit with an illegal dumping fine.

Trying to sneak that dead fern into your collection pile doesn’t seem so smart now, does it? No, Carol, it doesn’t. Follow the rules.

Old Couch

Alas, poor sofa! I knew him, Horatio.

Tips for Discarders

While kerbside collection may seem pretty simple – you place your unwanted stuff on the kerb and it gets taken away – it doesn’t hurt to remember a few tips and tricks.

  • If your items are left behind after kerbside collection, they may not be acceptable items. Be sure to find another way to dispose of them to avoid an illegal dumping fine.
  • Be aware that people may scrounge through your discarded stuff and turn your neat pile of junk into a scattered mess of junk.
  • If possible, wait to put your stuff out at the last minute. Waiting until the day before collection gives crawlers less opportunity to make a mess.

Another great tip to remember if kerbside crawlers are really bothering you is to have a water pistol handy at all times. Sit by the window all day, watching, then emerge to spray them away like naughty cats.

You can find your location’s kerbside collection dates and times on the magical thing we call the internet.

Oh okay, fine, we’ll make it even easier for you:

  • Brisbane: Check your kerbside collection dates here.
  • Melbourne: You can book your own date for hard waste collection.
  • Sydney: You can book a day to have you stuff removed.
  • Perth: Get the details (and some hot tips) from this Facebook group.
  • Adelaide: Find the information you need here.
  • Hobart: There’s a free collection service and you can read about it here.
  • Elsewhere: You’re on your own, pal. Google is your friend.
Old TV

Death lies on her, like an untimely frost upon the sweetest flower of all the field.

Tips for Crawlers

Everybody loves free stuff. Finding a perfectly fine (minus that suspicious-looking stain) couch up for grabs on the side of the road can feel like winning the lotto. But slow down there, champ. There is a right way to go about getting that couch onto your ute.

While the legalities of kerbside scavenging change depending on your location, the general rule in most cities is: once an item hits the kerb, it belongs to the council, not the individual who is discarding it. This means you’re free to take what you want, if you feel so inclined. But keep these tips in mind to be an efficient and courteous kerbside crawler:

  • Know when to go by checking out your area’s kerbside collection dates online.
  • Take a ute or a truck. You never know how much awesome junk you might find.
  • Have some gosh darn courtesy. If you’re interested in an item, don’t go throwing around the other items to get to it. Leave the pile as tidy as you found it.
  • If you see a dining set, don’t be a jerk and only take one chair. While there’s no rule that you have to take the entire set, you might be better off trawling the streets until you find a solo chair, so someone in need of a full dining set can take advantage.
  • Want to make a mosaic out of glass? That’s great, but don’t go smashing a TV screen to get your hands on the glass, leaving the poor owner to clean up the remaining shards.

Kerbside scavenging can be great fun, but don’t forget your manners in all the excitement. And remember to stay hydrated. It could be a long day.

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