The One with Bulky Trash

Saturday, October 25, 2014

This is one of those little anecdotes that I want to remember about living in Germany...

Once every six months or so there's this thing called "Bulky Trash" where you can put any big items that you don't want, things that are broken, or crap you're too lazy to sell out on the curb and the Germans will come by, load it up, and take it to the dumpster or somewhere, I actually don't know. 
I've seen things like old and used couches, chewed up chairs, dilapidated desks, wonky wardrobes, dingy doors, broken windows, musty mattresses, etc. Bulky Trash day is this coming Monday so people are already putting their stuff out, us included.

The funny/fascinating part is people drive from all over Europe to come pillage and plunder through everyone's discarded goods. We've seen license plates from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, so on and so forth. It reminds me of the saying, "One man's trash is the next man's treasure." Literally, all day long today, I have seen huge vans and little cars towing big trailers (cuz there are no trucks in Europe!) drive around and around and around, just waiting to sort and sift through everyone's Bulky Trash. 

Early bird gets the worm!
We put out an old lamp and the random car rim that we got in Croatia after our bad car accident on the curb, and even as Chris was placing them on the ground they were taken away. Here's another van stopping to look at our collection of Bulky Trash. He didn't take anything though wah wah :)
 What do these people do with everything they take? Use it for themselves? Fix it up and sell it? So interesting. And I wonder if this is a Germany-wide service or only around army bases? Because I've seen "Bulky Trash" in the city of Grafenwöhr itself a few months ago. Any Germans care to chime in on this phenomenon?


  1. So you lived in CA. -- so hopefully this will make sense to you ... I live next door in AZ ... we have "Bulk Pick Up" every 3 months here -- we also have "Dumpster Divers" that drive around and the joke is -- we wonder how much "Bulk Trash" will be left in it's spot once the "Dumpster Divers" come through ... for us though ... the "Divers" are mostly taking it south of the border from me -- don't know what they do with it there -- but I am assuming they need it more than us, or there wouldn't be so many "Divers" :)

  2. Hey Paige,
    in german taking the big bulky trash out to get it dumped or burned or however the things are easiest to destroy is called "Sperrmüllabfuhr" and as far as I know it's a service that is provided several times a year and all over Germany. As often you guessed right, most people with number templates from poland or hungary etc. want to fix and re-sell the "trash".
    Hope I could help a little. Greetings from Nuremberg :-)

  3. As kids we used to walk through the streets and rummage through the "Sperrmüll", hoping for the big treasure :-).
    When we were eight years old, we found a big bag with fireworks! Luckily we were clever enough to show them our parents before lighting them up...
    Greetings from Nürnberg,

  4. So funny ;-)
    It is called "Sperrmüll" and it's provided all around Germany on a regular basis. The people in vans who are collecting it are called "Sperrmüllgeier" (Geier = vulture ;-)) and they are mostly from Poland or or other East European country. No idea what they do with the collected stuff but I guess they actually sell it.

    And actually I too find Sperrmüll highly interesting! "One man's trash, other man's treasure"! My Mom once found a great antique chair on the Sperrmüll and fixed it and it looks great. Just today I found a huge wooden shadowbox outside my neighbours house which now stores some of my scrapbook supplies. It's a bit like a flea market sometimes, haha.

  5. I am in WI and we just had an all-city clean up day. They do these twice a year (spring and fall). We brought down three trailer loads of stuff. Old windows that we had just replaced, lumber from redoing our deck and other stuff from other house projects. We had a twin bed frame that I tried selling and nobody wanted. It was in really good condition. Just that it wouldn't sell online... no bites or anyone following through. So off it went. The people working at the location where we were to bring our stuff snatched it up and took it home. I am glad it didn't hit the trash. Other towns around the Twin Cities do what they are doing in Germany where you put your stuff down at the curb and they pick it up. Lots of dumpster diving going on there! One man's trash is another man's treasure as the saying goes. I am just glad we were able to get rid of a whole lot of stuff!! Saved me about $400, the cost of getting a dumpster delivered here and then hauled away.

  6. Ever Heard of Pickers the T.V. Show?They could have their own in Germany!

  7. It is pretty funny just how many there are!


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