Many people dispose of their furniture in Altona by putting it on the street. This also has a good side. Nevertheless, it annoys me.
Not only to be found in Hamburg-Altona: Wildly disposed of sofa, in this case in Freiburg Photo: dpa
The other night, I was looking out the window because it was creaking and rattling, and our neighbor across the street dragged an incomplete chest of drawers across the street and left it right in front of our house. Since February, the sewer system in our block is being renewed and such a construction site seems an ideal place to get rid of his bulky waste. Before the chest of drawers, there was already a table and a floor lamp there, at some point the things are in the way of the workers, then they dispose of them with the construction waste.
"Hamburg – neat and green" is the name of the cleanliness concept that the Hanseatic city adopted on July 4, 2017. And Hamburg has also become cleaner, according to the Senate. I moved from Eilbek to Altona last year, and what I noticed is the furniture that’s standing around everywhere, as if this district were one big, open bulky waste park. But even in my courtyard, in front of the garbage cans, there is often bulky waste in the morning that my dear neighbors must have secretly put there during the night. The cooperative disposes of it – at the expense of all members.
The city also disposes – at the expense of the general public. There are two categories: Furniture that, if no one wants it, is bulky waste, and furniture that says: to give away, and that, if no one wants it, is bulky waste. Since I’ve been living here in Altona, I’ve come across these pieces of furniture that are gathering dust and rotting in the rain, chests of drawers, chairs, small cabinets, but also computers, blind mirrors, everything more or less ruined, knobs off, back panels broken out, drawers gone, stuff that no one needs anymore.
Of course, like everything, there are two sides to this. Stuff that someone else can still use is wrong in the bulky waste. If we all exchanged the things we no longer need in a big cycle, there would be less throwing away, less consumption. And that, after all, has to be the big goal. The good, usable things don’t stay on the street either.
I don’t report anyone for a chest of drawers. I am not an angry pensioner, not yet.
But in this way, then, must have developed the attitude that accepts furniture standing around in the city. One way or another. You can’t condemn everyone who drags a broken piece of furniture across the street and leaves it in front of a construction site, can you? In fact, isn’t publicly dumped bulky waste primarily a poverty problem?
The neighbor across the street has a pretty decent car, though, said a nasty little voice inside me. I always pay for my own pickup, this voice says. If I now additionally, via the general garbage fee, pay for the pickup of his bulky waste as well and then also, via the fees at the cooperative, finance the pickup of the bulky waste in front of our garbage cans, then I feel like one feels when one is the only one standing in line.
I could put my bulky waste in the street next so I don’t feel that way, or I could report the neighbor across the street, but I don’t do that either. I don’t report anyone for putting their dresser in the street. I’m not an angry person, not yet. I just get angry at him and get irritable bowel syndrome or migraine or herpes on my lip, that sort of thing.
Or I stop getting angry because this is just the big city, which is a reasonably representative cross-section of the antisocial German community. This is just the world we live in and there are things that are much more antisocial and therefore worth getting angry about, I command myself to think.
But why haven’t I seen any furniture on the street in Eilbek in 20 years, while I stumble across some every few meters in the much more popular district of Altona? And have the people in Eilbek now been more antisocial because they did not offer their perhaps still intact furniture to other people on the street as a gift, or have they been less antisocial because they disposed of their bulky waste themselves and at their own expense in the recycling center?