So you’ve finished sprucing up your space. You find yourself knee-deep in dog-eared books and outdated desk files. The bald tires from that jalopy your son drove around all winter are starting to kill the grass in the backyard. And you know for a fact that your neighbors will revolt if you hang those “vintage” Christmas decorations one more year. Now what?
Riff Raff reality
For some Centre County residents, one man’s junk is another man’s lucky find.
Many Bellefonte borough households mark their calendar in anticipation of the community’s annual Riff Raff Week. From Monday through Friday, during a household’s normal trash day, neighborhood sanitation experts will take almost anything left out next to the trash can.
But that doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. While the borough refuse department will pick up almost everything, there are rules. Workers will not haul away tires, paint cans, batteries or construction materials; and items left at the curb must be in order and properly bound.
Bellefonte borough refuse department crew leader Lynn McClincy added that, while fans of Riff Raff Week are welcome to beat the sanitation workers to the rubble piles, too often, “People look through the piles and create a mess along the street.” The borough’s advice to the early-morning treasure-hunters is to leave the piles in order.
Advanced Disposal, the company that handles refuse in College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris and Patton townships, also offers bulk pickup events — in the spring, May 19 to 23; and in the fall, Oct. 13 to 17.
Like the Bellefonte pickup, items must be left out in neat, secured piles, and residents are forewarned to not put trash piles too close to other loose household items, such as planters, tarps and bikes, or they may be hauled away. For the State College municipalities, Advanced also will collect electronics (in piles separate from the trash) and up to 10 rimless tires from each household.
While the bulk trash pickup may be a godsend to spring cleaners, the recently relocated and Riff Raff enthusiasts, some may see the event as their chance to clog the local landfills. Bellefonte borough refuse workers have noticed an increase in wood products and said that there should be a program that recycles wood-based items such as furniture and building materials.
Options for all
For those who don‘t subscribe to the throw-away cure-all and know some of their junk might be happier at another home, there are more options other than setting up a table with a “free” or “for sale” sign in your front yard.
• Craigslist.org is a platform for people who want to buy, sell, swap, rent, date and more. It’s free to list your items for sale or to list them free for the taking.
• Freecycle is an email list group that allows members to offer their unwanted items to other members on the list for free. Visit
for instructions on joining the Centre County Freecycle group.
• Drop off the items at a local charity or secondhand shop. Always call ahead to make sure the site will accept your unwanted items, but consider Centre Peace, FaithCentre, Plato’s Closet, Habitat for Humanity of Greater County ReStore (for unused and leftover construction and remodeling items) and St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, among others.
• There are sites online that cater to regifters and swappers, including sportsgift.org (for old sporting goods), decluttr.com (CDs, DVDs and video games), donategames.org (video games) and thredup.com (clothing). An online search for “sell your unwanted ‘item type’ ” will yield a mind-boggling number of results.
For more information on bulk pickup guidelines, visit www.bellefonte.net or www.crcog.net. State College borough residents can schedule a bulk-waste pickup by calling the State College Public Works Department at 234-7135. Residents living in a multifamily complex outfitted with trash dumpsters can contact the phone number provided on the outside trash container to arrange for pickup of bulky items.