Greg Barila

Journalist. Editor. Social Media specialist.

Rubbish way to treat our streets

Hard rubbish collection. Picture: Peter Ward Source: News Corp. Australia

IF ever you suffer an unfortunate slip in the bathroom, bang your head and forget what suburb you live in, I know a way to tell.
Head out to the shed, find that frazzled appliance you've been meaning to get rid of, park it on the street and see how long it takes to vanish.
If it's there the next day, congratulations! You live in Medindie, in which case you should have a little wine spritzer to celebrate.
If it's gone by the time you get back to the front gate, you probably live in Glynde, or Glenelg North or Fulham Gardens or Salisbury North or Magilll - most anywhere else in Adelaide, really.
You will not see them, nor hear them step, but Adelaide's hard rubbish hoarders are out there, scooping up your buggered barbecues and mangy mattresses quicker than you can say "zero waste".
A few weeks back I rashly parted with $20 for a lawn edger, evidently just so I could learn the hard way that sometimes things are cheap for a reason.
I'm not saying the machine was totally non compos.
Let's just say I've made remarks that were more cutting than this piece of junk.
"It works. Take it if you want it", I scrawled on a scrap of paper before parking my foolish acquisition near the edge of the road. The edge - do you get the irony?
It was gone within half an hour.
No one wants to live in a suburb where ones goods and chattels are under the constant risk of being swiftly nicked.
But the sad truth is our city's enterprising street pickers do us all a favor, for two reasons.
The first is because at anywhere from $25 to $65 a trailer load, the cost of a trip to the local dump is, in my view, offensively expensive.
Kevin Rudd might call it a (broken) fridge too far.
The second, is that during that most unique of Adelaide rituals, Hard Rubbish collection, the joint looks less like a city of parks and churches and more like Tornado Alley the morning after a ferocious storm.
I noticed this keenly last September, after returning home from a year in the US, and vented my spleen about it on Twitter, where I got a largely sympathetic hearing.
"No doubt hard rubbish is handy but it makes Adelaide streets look like a tip, don't you think? Wonder what tourists think?" I wrote.
"Totally agree," Kerry from Adelaide replied.
"It has a Third World look about it & encourages people to dump their unwanted goods in the street, even when it's not collection day."
Next month the situation is set to get a whole lot worse.
On April 2, it's Adelaide's turn for the big analog TV signal switch off.
And that means thousands of families will become the proud and instant owners of a large, heavy and useless lump of plastic and glass.
Authorities have been sounding a warning about the big switch off at least since the national rollout of digital started in 2010, fretting that our streets will become a de facto dumping ground for unwanted tellies.
They were right.
Earlier this year, Messenger reported that charity shops were being lumped with old TVs every week, along with a bill for hundreds of dollars to ditch them legally.
The charity chains now have their fingers crossed the problem will ease, with the Federal Government reminding everyone there's a free national TV and computer recycling program, with 10 permanent recycling places in SA.
As usual, some people missed the memo.
Already, in the quiet industrial backblocks around my suburb, solitary TV sets sit in odd places - under trees, near rivers and in front of sheds -  one bit of hard rubbish that's bound to be exactly where you left it in the morning, no matter where you live.
To find out where you can drop your computer or TV CLICK HERE.
This column was first published in The City messenger and on