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The joy of a trip to the tip

Big tip: Well before waste management became a ‘thing’, a trip to the tip was a source of great joy and treasure. Photo by Megan Fisher

Life must have been fairly boring for me when I was 10.

When Dad announced he was heading to ‘the tip’ my brother and I jumped at the chance to hop into the yellow Hillman Husky.

If we had our choice we would have sat in the trailer with the junk we had to deliver, but even in those days it wasn’t the done thing, so we took the two kilometre ride inside the car.

The big attraction was what we would call today, recycling.

We were the original recyclers. On arrival at the tip we would start a patrol to see what good stuff some unthinking citizen had decided was rubbish and had discarded.

The trips to ‘the tip’ (they hadn’t thought of words like ‘waste management’ or ‘resource recovery’ in those days) were often in summer, by memory, so I was usually decked out in my uniform of shorts and thongs.

For some reason there were always bits of timber with nails lying around, which slowed us down enormously, as when you stood on them, the nails penetrated the rubber thongs, so they stuck like fly paper. You had to shake your foot to remove the pesky irritations. Tetanus was not in my vocabulary.

The big pile of rubbish always included old furniture, fencing, building materials and lots of 44 gallon drums.

But my interest was in the old TVs and radios which had been chucked out. Why would anyone throw out all sorts of interesting electronics when the parts could be re-used?

Invariably I grabbed a pile of stuff which Dad told me we wouldn’t be taking back, and I would have to shed my load until it was reduced to what I could fit in my bulging pockets.

I took great care to hide my treasure when I returned home as Mum didn’t share my joy in recycling.

Waste management has come a long way since we had free access to anything we wanted.

Now there are serious-faced men scrutinising every load, charging the required fees and directing you to where to dump your waste.

Strathbogie Shire Council got a $10,000 grant last year for a feasibility study into having a ‘shop’ at the tip.

The report found “due to favourable social, economic and environmental conditions, it is initially recommended to introduce one Resale Shop”.

Council just has to find $100,000 to upgrade the tip to accommodate the new shop.

Must be a grant somewhere for that.