Holocaust of the fluffy toys

We took a pile of stuff down the the dump today. I don’t like throwing things away (which is a large part of the problem: thngs accumulate because I can’t bear to throw them away), but it has become necessary – too much stuff has been piling up. The fluffy toys of the title weren’t ours: it was someone we saw there, tipping a whole box of perfectly good toys into the skip. But but but I want to say, there must be someone who wants those… but then again, when the far east pumps out new fluffy toys at such volume at such low price, what margin is there in recycling old ones?

The tip does make an effort: its really called a “recycling centre” and you can recycle cardboard, metals, batteries, timber and even plasterboard. And there is some effort to take useable items out of the waste stream and pass them on. But so much just gets junked. We’re a rich nation, we can afford to buy this stuff and then throw it away, but its so dispiriting. Oh to be poor? Hmmm, you don’t hear many people saying that.

Time to bring out the Wm Morris quote: “Have nothing in your home which you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”… something to try to live up to, but difficult in these days of vast tides of tat sweeping in. Particularly childrens toys, which are far too plentiful, and thus not really appreciated.


  1. #1 John Fleck

    When I was a youngster, I worked several summers at a thrift store run by a charity. My job was on the truck, driving through neighborhoods picking up the stuff people wanted to donate to us, that we might resell it to support services for poor kids.

    A big part of what happened next involved sorting wheat from chaff – the stuff we could actually resell versus the stuff headed for the dump or (in the case of clothing) the rag merchant. The weekly rag load was enormous. I used to bale up 80 or 100 bales a week. And every week we’d take a full truckload to, as you call it, “the tip.”

    [AFAIK, no-one comes around collecting anymore, its all take-to-the-shops (or the tip). When we lived in Stevenage there was still a rag-and-bone man who came round in a van collecting junk, but that was probably the last gasp of the old system -W]

  2. #2 Eli Rabett

    When I was younger, people just put the stuff out on the street and watched it disappear.

  3. #3 Adam

    There is a scheme in Stevenage to collect & distribute used & unwanted furniture to those who need it. Some charities will come pick stuff up if you ask them.

    We did have a rag & bone van come past our house the other week. If we’d known they were coming we might have had some stuff ready but they were gone before we knew it. AFAIA they’ve not been back since.

    These days we try to use charity shops and freecycle as a first port of call before resorting to the tip.

  4. #4 John Fleck

    Eli –

    Lately, we’ve tried that in my neighborhood. People don’t want crap, even if it’s free, apparently.

  5. #5 Eli Rabett

    John, I agree, and that is one of the markers of how rich our society has become…..(OTOH, I have dump picked a lot of useful cables and equipment, which I guess is a comment on me…)

  6. #6 Michele

    I live in San Francisco. If you put something out on the street, it will most likely get picked up by someone. I live in a small space so every 6 months or so I reorganize. I hate to see things go to waste and try to donate as much as possible.

    I have found that Goodwill and Salvation Army are quite particular about what they will take. They won’t take furniture (even if it is clean and usable) and they won’t take items they deem “too large” (e.g. appliances, exercise equipment.

    Anything that can’t be given away, gets picked up by the local salvage company. They even pick up old paint and other hazardous items and dispose of them properly. As for everything else … I guess it goes in a landfill.

  7. #7 Tim Burrows

    Isn’t this why eBay was invented? :)

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