I came careening toward the intersection meeting two panel vans laying claim to the same corner. I darted between them on Marly, my bicycle, and made my dash to the next pile of ‘bulky refuse.’
It’s Spermüll day in the neighborhood, a time of unrelenting joy for all.
Is that old bookshelf bringing you down? Too many tables and not enough space? Maybe that crappy Ikea furniture is starting to fall apart? Just put it on the corner and watch it disappear the next day when city workers come around with giant dump trucks to collect it.
But before that happens, it’s a hard scrabble mad dash to salvage the best bits of bulky waste.
Once every quarter, each neighborhood holds their quarterly ‘Spermüll’ or bulky refuse day. It’s time to get that broken fridge out of the basement or maybe those old books you’ve never read just have to go. The afternoon before, people begin laying their waste to the curbside. The whole scene is akin to ‘Hippie Christmas’ in Madison when all of the students move out of the dorms and pile their goods, but it happens every three months here.
The most interesting aspect of Spermüll is the legion of panel vans that roam the streets. The event has gained renown throughout the area and vans from Poland, Hungary, Lithuania and the former East Germany flood the neighborhoods early to begin the picking process.
The whole scene and competition from the professional Spermüllers lends an urgency to the sorting. There’s no time for dilly-dallying when competing with folks who have been doing this for years.
So far I’ve found three tables, a bookshelf, a couple of nice deck chairs, a laundry basket and sundry items. For another version of what I just wrote about here, click for some other person’s take.