Friday, July 26, 2013

Getting rid of things

 seems to be getting harder and harder these days.

It used to be that trash service consisted of hauling your trash out to the street and on trash day it would vanish. You could throw appliances or just about anything into the heap and it would go away.

Not so these days.  Now you are pretty limited on what you can get rid of.

Right now I have three trash cans, one for trash, one for recycling and another one for yard waste. Actually this makes sense. We probably should have been recycling things years ago. The city also maintains a compost pile that is open to the public.

Still, there are a lot of things that you can not put in either of these three containers. There are tires, car batteries, appliances and a lot of electronics that are hard to get rid of.

I've been lucky in that I have made a few friends and can get rid of tires and car batteries easily enough but when a basic computer bites the dust it can be difficult to get rid of. A television is a bit more difficult but a refrigerator or a stove is a royal pain in the ass.

Actually most of this stuff can easily be gotten rid of. The trash company will pick them up but it's costly as they send a seperate truck out for the stuff.

Some metal scrapyards will take a washing machine, dryer or stove but they're some distance away. It pays to call first as a few years back I discovered that not all scrapyards will take this stuff. I do not know why.

When replacing an appliance read the offer carefully because free delivery along with free removal is something to be taken into consideration. It's generally worth the extra few bucks they slip in on the purchase price.

Even a reasonable delivery charge is a pretty good deal if it includes removal of the old appliance.

I have been lucky as far as computers go. I didn't go the tower PC/moniter route. I have always used laptops and I have a couple of outdated onse sitting in a closet. Eventually I'll take them down to Goodwill and give them a few bucks to make them go away.

Incidentally, most people are unaware that one of the biggest expenses Goodwill has is getting rid of the mountains of junk that people palm off on them. Nobody wants to buy your torn, greasy coveralls or your 15 year old 486 computer. When you drop it off they have to simply get rid of it somewhere and this costs them money.

I suppose Goodwill does salvage the precious metals computers use, though, so some good comes out of it.

Considering the amount of junk people palm off on Goodwill it's highly likely that getting rid of the junk is a pretty costly for them and it would not surprise me that it is one of their biggest expenses.

Back in the day we had the good old fashioned city dump and no trash service. You just loaded up the pickup or the trunk and headed off there with anything you wanted to get rid of.

Car batteries? No problem. A transformer full of PCBs? Throw it in the pickup. Leftover lead paint? Go for it. Years back nobody gave it a second thought. I know I didn't. I suppose if I did this today I'd be in jail as an ecological terrorist or something.

Dumps generally started having seperate areas or bins for things that were harmful to the ecology but they still took aything. Not having been to the dump in well over a decade it would be interesting to see how thay have evolved.

One of the things I have noticed in Philly is the amount of stuff people simply ditch under bridges or along the sides of lightly traveled roads. TVs, computers, and all sorts of things wind up under bridges and strewn along quiet unused roads and while illegal as hell it makes sense that people would do such a thing.

Likely it's expensive as git-go to get rid of stuff in Philly or people wouldn't do this kind of thing. It's tempting to do this when you figure that it's going to cost you a hefty chunk of change to get rid of an old TV. 

A lot of our goods are pretty much throw away partly because they get obsolete so fast as technology is tearing along at a pretty good clip these days. It shows no signs of slowing down, either.

Some of this is created by the perception that the latest technology is necessary. I some instances it is not. My TV is well over 20 years old and is still going strong. My tastes are simple, though. I just use mine to watch basic TV on and feel no need for super-sound or anything else.

On the other hand, I only get a few years out of a laptop before it has to be upgraded just to be able to stay on line. Before I get rid of these I'm going to have to remove and destroy the hard drives, though.

I looked at the  requirements of my ISP and realize that some of my older computers won't even go on line anymore because they are so obsolete. The combat laptops I am using now are becoming dated and in a while I suppose they will have to be replaced.

Cell phones are another item that people seem to go through at a pretty good clip. I read somewhere that the average cell phone gets replaced every 16 months or so. I have a couple floating around in a drawer somewhere I've been meaning to get rid of.

Cell phones are not too bad to get rid of, though. There are places you can send them to and they recycle them somehow. Some of these places even will send you a prepaid mailer on request which is a pretty good deal.

Anyway, it's a lot harder to get rid of stuff today then it used to be and I can only see it getting harder and harder over time.

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