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Hard Waste: What is it and how do you responsibly dispose it?

Meld Magazine

Mon Feb 16 2015


WHAT can international students do with all their unwanted furnishings and appliances once they leave Australia? Gabriella Ariffin offers her tips on how students can dispose hard waste.

For international students, the country they stay during their studies will quickly become their second home. And with a second home comes new furniture and other accoutrements that add a personal touch to their dwellings.

However, when its time to go back home for good, getting rid of these items can become problematic. Many international students throw out their unwanted belongings without giving much thought as to how this might affect the environment.

By carelessly throwing out hard waste – that is, solid items that either no longer serve a purpose or too bulky or large to put away in the trash – students risk damaging soil, the atmosphere and water as well.

Mattresses, sofas, bikes, electric appliances, furniture, white goods (stoves, washing machines, air conditioners, fridges) among others are generally considered hard waste.

To make better use of your unwanted hard waste, there are various ways international students can effectively help the environment before they leave the country.

1. Donate unwanted items

Donate old, unwated pieces of furniture and equipment, like computers... Your trash could be someone's treasure! Photo: Mark Stosberg via Flickr

Donate old, unwanted pieces of furniture and equipment, like computers… Your trash could be someone’s treasure! Photo: Mark Stosberg via Flickr

Your unwanted items might be useful for other people in need so why not consider donating your belongings? One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right?

Given that other people will still want to find use from these items, it’s always best to make sure that they’re in reasonably good condition, particularly electrical appliances.

There are many non-profit organisations you could check out before deciding to give away your stuff. It is equally important to find one you feel most suitable with your personal values.

GiveNowEstablished by Our Community Foundation, you could easily give away your furniture, gadgets, books and many more around Australia to this organisation. They have a pick up service and drop off locations you could visit.

Nacro: One of the biggest charity organisations in Australia, Nacro, connects you to many registered charities such as the Australian Red Cross, Diabetes Australia, Salvos Stores and Life-Gate Inc.

ComputerbankLocated in West Melbourne, this non-profit organisation welcomes you to donate your computer equipment. They will give the recycled items to low-income individuals, students and community groups.

St Vincent de Paul SocietyThe St Vincent de Paul Society is committed to fight against social injustice around Australia and you can help them by donating your unused belongings. They will provide a collecting service for heavy items.

2. Gain Profit

If you are low on cash and would like to make a profit by trading or selling your possessions, you can do so by reaching out to communities that will help you do this.

Places such as  TuShare, Gumtree, Quicksales , SellBuySwapFree and Freecycle will turn your unwanted waste into profitable gain!

3. Hard Waste Collection Service

Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade via Flickr

Waste authorities can pick up your hard waste as long as you do it during council-allocated times or make an order for one. Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade via Flickr

Sure, carelessly dumping and disposing of hard waste can be damaging to the environment, and in some cases illegal, but local councils do their best to help its inhabitants properly dispose of hard waste.

One way councils achieve this is through a hard waste collection service. Depending on where you live, each local council will have a different period as to when it is acceptable for residents to dispose unwanted materials. Other councils also require for you to call up and book for a collection service.

Check your local city council website to find out more details about what you can and can’t throw out and learn more about the allotted periods in which you can properly take out your hard waste.

City of Melbourne: Keningston, North Melbourne, West Melbourne, Port Melbourne, East Melbourne, Southbank, Melbourne CBD, Docklands, South Yarra, Carlton and Parkville

City of Monash: Clayton, Burwood, Ashwood, Chadstone, Glen Waverly, Hughesdale, Huntingdale, Mount Waverly, Mulgrave, Notting Hill, Oakleigh, Oakleigh East, Oakleigh South and Wheelers Hill

Maribyrnong City CouncilFootscray, West Footscray, Braybrook, Maribyrnong, Seddon, Tottenham, Kingsville and Yarravile

City of Darebin: Bundoora, Kingsbury, Macleod, Preston, Fairfield, Alphington, Reservoir, Coburg, Northcore and Thornbury

Moreland City CouncilBrunswick, Brunswick East, Brunswick West, Coburg, Coburg North, Fawkner, Glenroy, Gowanbrae, Hadfield, Oak Park, Pascoe Vale, Pascoe Vale South