April 2018 Trading Day Review

Clothes swapping to the sounds of a ukulele


Twenty people or more attended the April Trading Day in the Albion Peace Centre on Sunday 15th. This time the theme was a Clothes Swap, and there were many secondhand garments on offer, but also trading was quite varied as usual. Clothing, plants, puzzles and many other items changed hands. Meanwhile Isabelle was busy in the kitchen again (a delicious stir-fry cooking demo – thank you!) and Josephine entertained us with beautiful ukulele music while Simon sang.

Simon also gave a short talk, announcing the work he has done to plot all our members on a map, and discussion followed. The map will make it easier than ever before for active traders to find other members who live close by, and it will facilitate more trades, carpooling and support.

BrisLETS meetings are very social with lots of chatting and catching up. Who else had a problem solved or found out useful information they needed? I know it wasn’t only me. At the event I was lent a “granny tracker”, or that’s what I’m going to call it. I had posted my rather unusual Want on CES and someone in the group came up with the goods as happens so often in this network of helpful and knowledgeable people. (Thank you Jo!)

For my Mum’s 90th birthday celebration on Cockatoo Island we thought a good party game might be for guests to track her movements which also will allow them to catch up with her, whether it be at the Biennale exhibition, snacking in the Heritage Houses or playing games by the foreshore. She doesn’t use a smart phone, so this gadget I have hired should be the solution. She will have a little device to carry in her pocket and we can locate her with our phones.

E stands for “Energy” in BrisLETS, Brisbane Local Energy Trading System, because it is a network of local people who support each other in many and diverse ways.


Alison Bird
Events Team (Assistant)




Rescued food helps your weekly budget

Want to make a real difference to your weekly budget? One BrisLETS member shows how.

Dumpster diving is rescuing household food items from stock that the staff of a shop, supermarket, etc., has thrown into a skip outside the shops, usually at closing time.

What is dumped, and why

Some shops may dump a huge amount of good food if they have overstocked. Or if one egg is broken, they’ll discard the whole carton.

Similarly, with pre-packed fruit and vegetables, one pear with a bad spot means the whole packet may be thrown away.

With pasta sauce, olive oil etc., if one jar is broken, they don’t bother removing it and cleaning up the box, but just throw it all out, which means there could be 23 perfect jars.

Other food goes in the bin because it’s nearing its use-by date, or is the end of a range, or doesn’t look perfect.

All dumpster content is destined for landfill, making it is a serious problem when the organic material decomposes and releases methane and other greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change.

Safe to use

As far as I can find out, the use-by dates marked on products are not safety dates, and I’m satisfied that the food I rescue is safe and good to eat.

Salvage not illegal

The advice I’ve had is that it’s not illegal to take garbage. To be stolen, property must be owned or valued, so the contents of rubbish bins don’t count. However, I avoid bins on private property because retrieving their contents could be trespassing.

Brisbane has a group of dumpster divers, and some of the members have talked to police who said they don’t have an issue with people diving, as long as they don’t trespass or make a mess.

One diver’s routine

I dive every night, usually traveling with my electric bike and trailer. Once or twice a week I go by car with a friend and we dive for several hours in many places.

We go after closing time and we try to be quick and stealthy because some people don’t approve. If anyone objects, then we leave straight away. I wear a head-torch and gumboots, and I take a milk crate to stand on, bags and a grabber for picking up stuff. If things are out of reach, I will climb right into the bin.

We always keep our hands clean, and we tidy up and take care to leave the site better than when we found it.

Most of the food is good and has been dumped just a few hours earlier. Spring, winter and autumn are best when the weather is cooler, so the food lasts longer.

We rescue all types of fresh and non-perishable food, canned goods, dairy, flowers, oil, laundry and bathroom products, alcohol, cosmetics, health supplements, pet food, meat, herbs, cereals, snack foods, health foods and more.

Once we found a wheelchair, and there have been shelves, kitchenware, party decorations and clothes.

When I get home, I clean the rescued goods and pack them all away in the fridge or freezer before cleaning myself up. I have tables and chairs set up outside for sorting the food, and I have a spare fridge and chest freezer for storage.

I keep my bike in good condition and recharge it daily because this work involves carting heavy loads. There is also constant work to clean my trailer and the tables, fridge and floors after sorting.

Lots of food — recipients needed

I would like to find more LETS families to share the rescued food with, because there is always so much of it.

This is an opportunity for LETS to make a real difference to your weekly budget. If you’ve had difficulty finding goods and services to spend your units on, then I urge you to consider this opportunity. You can choose what items you’d like and we’ll negotiate a fair price.

If you are interested, please contact me by email, FB or text and I will send you my current list of what is available.

I work hard to present reasonable goods at low prices for LETS members, but of course I advise buyers to sort the groceries and wash or discard any items as necessary.

—Storm Furness, BLCE0955