Posted by: madkentdragon | September 7, 2011

Recycling, the old fashioned way

Having just seen an article about a dumped three piece suite that was mysteriously moved five miles down the road, I was reminded of a something that happened several times about thirty years ago.

At that time we had three young boisterous sons and a dog and our then suite was getting to look very scruffy and not having much money, we borrowed a van and went to the local furniture auctions held in Maidstone at the local market every other Thursday.

We managed to buy one for about fifteen pounds and, loading it on to the van; we proudly drove home with it. We took the old suite out and
fitted the new to us one in to the flat that we lived in.

There was then the problem of disposing of the old one, it was too late to take it to the tip that night and it was too risky to load it into the van as we would have had to tie the doors shut; the area was not the most salubrious and theft was inevitable.

We therefore decided to leave it in the cycle shelter that was attached to the flats – no bikes were ever left there for obvious reasons. So imagine our surprise when the following morning our discarded suite had gone and an even tattier one was left in its place!

Now this suite looked as if it may have “unwanted visitors” living in it and so we were reluctant to touch it. We called the council and said that an unhealthy looking suite had been dumped in the cycle shed and we were worried about our boys catching something from it, so the council disposed of it. Naughty, I know – but would you risk it?

Eighteen months later, a better off relative offered us her suite and we accepted it, again the old one was put in the cycle shed and within the hour our oldest suite had reappeared and the newer discarded suite had disappeared – OK someone wanted a better suite – but imagine our surprise when that one also disappeared to be replaced by a sofa that was falling to pieces.

The cycle shed then became a local “recycling point” as any unwanted furniture, from cots to suites to tables and even a wardrobe was put there and taken by someone else with the worst stuff removed by the council.

We never did find out who had taken our suites, but I hope they enjoyed them.



  1. While I have no intrinsic problem with leaving unwanted items that are usable in a public place, your account explains exactly why this sort of fly-tipping shouldn’t occur. Round the corner from me, there’s a patch of ground which is used as the local dump. Not that it’s a particular problem, as it’s in a passageway that’s generally out of the way. But the point is nonetheless periodically it has to be cleared, which is a responsibility which falls on the council, thereby creating an expense for us all.

  2. The point you miss is that we would have contacted the council the following morning – too late that evening – but by then it had gone & when the “recycling” had finished we did ring the council & had the remnants removed

  3. I understand that and wasn’t having a go. But what happened exactly illustrates the problem of disposing of these sorts of bulky unwanted items.

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