The truth about kerbside junk: What the law says about rummaging through other people’s unwanted items – and you might be surprised
- Every year, many Australians leave furniture and whitegoods for council pick up
- But if you see something you like, are you legally allowed to take it home?
- Turns out it’s not as simple as someone’s trash being our treasure
- Depending where you live, there are rules on whether you can take or not
Cindy Tran for Daily Mail Australia
We have all come across perfectly good furniture sitting out on the side of the road waiting for council collection.
Among the unwanted items left on the kerb, you notice a beautiful white cabinet that’s in desperate need of a new lick of paint.
But are you legally allowed to take it home with you?
Turns out it’s not as simple as someone’s trash being your treasure because it really comes down to where you live in Australia, ABC News reported.
Every year, many Australians leave furniture and whitegoods for council pick up (stock image)
In Brisbane, residents are encouraged to take whatever they spot for kerbside collection on the condition they leave leftover items tidily stacked.
But if you’re living in Darwin, the junk ‘technically’ belong to the person who put it there until council kerbside collection.
‘If there is something in a pile that people would like to reuse, as a courtesy they should try to contact the person who put it there to ask if it is OK to take,’ a City of Darwin spokeswoman told the publication.
Sydneysiders are allowed to take any unwanted item at their own risk while there are no laws preventing Adelaide, Melbourne or Perth residents from salvaging goods.
‘Chucking out your unwanted items on the street is illegal. You could be fined $500 for it (up to $2,200 in some cases),’ the City of Sydney said.
‘There are better ways to get rid of your junk, like donating or reselling. You can also use our free weekly pick-up service.’
Are you legally allowed to take it home with you? Turns out it’s not as simple as someone’s trash being our treasure because it really comes down to where you live in Australia
Only seniors and concession card holders are allowed to book a service for unwanted kerbside collection in Canberra.
The ACT government discourages residents from rummaging through other people’s unwanted items.
‘The public should be aware that they may be taking items that do belong to another person and should check with the residence prior to taking any items,’ a spokesperson said.
The City of Hobart does not offer a kerbside collection service but residents can contact The Resource Work Cooperative to book a pick-up bulky household items.