Each year, Google employee can spend one day helping out some non-profit organisation. Like last year, I went to help out the Red Cross in Bern. While in the afternoon, I helped in same shop, in the morning I helped a team that emptied a house. One of the ways the Red Cross gets the stuff it sells in the second hand shops is by operating a free disposal service, typically for people who move out of their houses.
In this case, we had to empty a gorgeous three story house. While we moved the stuff out we did the primary sorting of what would have a chance of being sold, only 20% of the stuff typically makes it to the shops, the rest needs to be sorted and properly recycled. I was not surprised to see CRT Television sets, heavy vacuum cleaners from the past century and 486 computers being sent to recycling, but also a lot of furniture and books don’t make it to the shop, people don’t like dark furniture from the sixties, or photo books from the eighties.
Everything that would not go to the shop would therefore be dismantled for easier transport. It’s surprising how easy it is to break furniture when you kick in the right place. I felt kind of sad flattening the delicate wooden structure build for some miniature train model. Once the truck was packed full, we drove to the recycling centre, where the trash was sorted and disposed off properly: glass, metal, electronics, paper, construction material, but also plastic containers for bottles, are all handled separately.
In the afternoon, I went to help in the same shop I had gone to last year: La Trouvaille in Bümbpliz. I sorted the books, redid the shop window, operated the cash register, hang up and sorted clothes.
In the end it was a very fun day, very interesting as I ended-up doing quite a few things I had never done before. I’ll probably do the same next year.