Saturday, January 24, 2009


Now, bear in mind that for the last several years, or family (well, me) has not thrown anything away.

Well, that's not quite true. Between five of us we can still fill a bin liner in a week.

Don't quite know how, as there's an awful lot not in there that I think would be from most households. And of course a fair amount of paper and glass goes off with the RE-Box kerbside collection.

And so the collected bits and bobs that didn't make it are all around the house and grounds in one way or another.

I have this odd notion that I will one day find a use for it all.

However, with the recent flurry of activity from councils on bins, plus the downturn in interest in separated recylates, my wife asked me if we'd end up being lumbered with a stonking bill if we had to get rid of it all.

I assured her not, as those who collect such things appreciate clearly sorted, clean recylables, and other than a few days with a wheelbarrow to the various local skips, we'd be fine.

Or... perhaps not.

Rubbish hoarder ordered to pay £38,000 clean-up bill

Now, my first thought was... 'so this is how you get a feature in the major papers!'

Closely followed by ... 'Uh-oh'.

I was going to also query the cost involved, but now note that most of the sum in question was not for the actual clearing, but to my favourite profession to 'handle' it all.

Not rats here, but ~I might have to review the collection and storage policy soon.

Telegraph - The thin line between junk and treasure -

You have addressed a serious topic with sensitivity.

And I don't wish to hijack what is essentially a piece on mental health and the authorities' reaction to it, but the topic of 'hoarding' has come up and it is one I am both personally and professionally engaged with.

Like your mother, my clutter habit is still within manageable limits. And my marriage still firm, if tested on occasion by my acquisitive tendencies. This is, I suspect, due to the various end of garden composters and cones, a weekly kerbside collection system (soon to be 'improved' away from segregated items back to mixed waste wheelies!), but mostly thanks to a big garden, some sheds, a cellar and a few lofts.

Hence, with a few nasty exceptions, 'we' have thrown nothing away for several years (all washed, dried and stored). This is partly because I am interested in what a family can generate, and seeing scores of the same thing can be eye-opening, but also because I am fascinated by what may be done by way of money-making, planet-saving reuse.

Hence, I use this opportunity to suggest that 'dealing with' some hoarders might be worth redirecting, and for the benefit of the community.

Such as Messrs Cockerham and Stewart are unfortunate extremes, but could there be others - who might be erring on the compulsive - but also offer some value?

Wouldn't it be great to locate such folk and connect them with others?

Yes, most of what I collect is for own use, and I feel the odd tug when even a couple of things are whisked away, but equally I can't use all and space is an issue, so if the local Scouts ask and I can help then handing over a few score cardboard loo rolls or a couple of hundred red bottle caps, it is actually quite rewarding, emotionally for me and, for them, financially.

Hence may I commend sites such as Freecycle and to those who do see value in not throwing all away, as they can offer ways and means to redirect 'waste' into perhaps more productive areas than the bin or landfill. Plus possible valuable social interaction components, too.

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