No matter how many guidebooks one reads, there are many unadvertised features of Australian life that you just don't learn about until you get here. Today's example: getting rid of the household rubbish. Although we had many, many boxes to unpack, complete with lots of packaging and other garbage, we ended up paying over $200 to have someone pick up most of it, despite the fact that Brisbane provides regular trash and recycling services. Why? Recycling is on alternate weeks only, and, even on the week when we can put out both the trash and recycling bins, everything must fit in these two bins at the time of pick up. There's no laying of extra stuff next to the bin, or topping the bin so high that the lid doesn't stay on. Everything must fit neatly in the container. Despite the fact that we live in a condo complex, we don't have a big dumpster where we can put it all. In fact, I have yet to find a dumpster at UQ or anywhere else...just regular trash bins.
And it's not just about neatness. It's because the rubbish is picked up from our curbside by a very noisy truck at 6:30 every Tuesday morning. As you can (sort of) see from my photos, a solitary man drives the truck down the street and uses a dangerous-looking claw that extends out the side to pick up each bin and dump it into the truck. The driver remains in his seat for each pick up, which lasts about 30 seconds. So, if there were anything placed outside the bin, there would be no one else able to pick it up, unlike the two guys who would hang off the back of the garbage truck in front of our home in Atlanta. There, we could pile up all sorts of garbage, including boxes, pieces of wood, and other assorted junk, and it would all be picked up on the designated day. Oh, there is a similar comprehensive service in Brisbane...but it occurs on just one day each year (in March, I think). Until then, we will continue to hoard the rest of our rubbish from the move, slowly dispersing it whenever we some extra room in the bins.