I loath unnecessary waste. I cringe when I see perfectly good children's toys, unwanted gym equipment, clothes and other household items being thrown into a landfill.

We live in a throwaway society. Some have so much they can afford to cast things away while others have so little they would gladly be there to catch it. Perhaps our wasteful ways are linked to the quality of the goods we import. Most are made in a far-flung country for a fraction of the price it would cost to make it here. Usually it is of poor quality and reinforces the old adage that you get what you pay for.

Given the conditions some of these workers endure, you can hardly blame them for not taking more pride in their work. Nor, I suppose, can you blame people who place so little value in it that they take it to the landfill. It doesn't, however, change the fact that someone may have had a use for the item cast away casually.

Last year, I rifled through a collection of books at home. It occurred to me that someone might be interested in reading them. I placed the books in a storage container, fashioned a "free" sign and placed them outside the gate.


People started rifling through the container. By the end of the day all the books and, to my partner's dismay, the container had gone.

It showed me that there is usually someone who will find a use for your excess belongings.

In days gone by, I have seen inorganic rubbish collections where you could leave large items on the kerbside for collection. Quite often they would disappear before the collection time had come. In the US, there is a push for supermarkets and restaurants to cut food waste and feed those in need. As much as 40 per cent of food produced in the US is never eaten, according to the FoodWaste Reduction Alliance. Meanwhile, 50 million Americans suffer from a shortage of food.

I can't help being shocked that so much food is going to waste, both here and abroad, when there are people in need.