As someone who’s furnished half her home with stuff I found on the street, I am eager to discover if this Consumerist story is true for SF, too! Just last night I picked up a dresser from the street, wedged it into the passenger seat of my car, and drove it home. COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED TO ME? I am terrified!
You won’t get a ticket If you take a discarded couch or TV off of the sidewalk, but the city REALLY wishes you wouldn’t.
“If people take recyclables or compostables out of designated carts, they could get ticketed, but I’ve never heard of [The Consumerist situation] happening,” said Mark Westlund, SF Environment’s outreach manager. Christine Falvey of DPW agreed: “I’ve never heard of a law, but generally speaking sidewalk dumping is something we really discourage…people put things on the sidewalk and expect that someone will come get it, but a lot of the time DPW has to come pick it up because we get complaints, and people don’t know that it’s a tax payer expense to remove items off the street.”
In other words, you’re saving more money by NOT lugging that abandoned lounge chair into your trunk and therefore encouraging dumping behavior. Theoretically.
If you want to get rid of your junk, both Falvey and Westlund recommend taking advantage of Sunset Scavenger‘s Junk Pick Up service. Apartment tenants are entitled to one pickup per year and households are entitled to two pickups per year. All you have to do is make an appointment, dump all of your stuff outside, put a sign on it, and leave it on the sidewalk. Click here for more detailed instructions.
If you want to procure some junk, I recommend the Free section on Craigslist. Less back pain that way, too (Craigslist users often offer to deliver stuff to your place, I’ve found. But maybe that’s just because I’m 5’2” and have no upper arm strength).
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