Got junk you can’t get rid of? With the influx of even more possessions you are about to acquire this festive season, it may be time to call in a professional to help you deal with your clutter.
Given the transient nature of the UAE, it’s no surprise to see expats begging for buyers of their used goods. Often, out of desperation, goods are declared free – though even then it can be difficult to off-load them. Luckily, the company 800 Junk (administered by BuFaisal General Trading) is helping people shift their stuff.
The initiative picks up unwanted goods from homes around the UAE and redistributes them, through sales of the goods at discounted rates, to low-income earners. This means the goods are picked up from someone’s home and evaluated, then they are either sold or given for free to workers in labour camps.
Founder Faisal says he was inspired to create the company when he visited Canada. He explains, ‘It was an idea I came up with when I was living in Canada because a lot of the junk that gets used in Canada is reused – you don’t just toss stuff away. There are different organisations that do this kind of work – they reuse it, they might sell it or they might use it for scrap. They don’t just throw it in the garbage. In the UAE, it’s a very transitional country, people come and go. I saw a need in this country and it turns out there is a group of people that are very environmentally conscious and would rather their stuff goes to somebody else.’
The junk is picked up in the 800 Junk truck by the trained and uniformed staff (with the necessary equipment) and whisked away, all with the click of a button. ‘Sometimes people have items they can’t sell, and when that happens, they call us – they just don’t want to see it in their house anymore and they can’t sell it on Dubizzle. They don’t have to throw it out, we just take it away with our truck, our trained crew come in and get rid of the junk for people.’
Residents across the UAE can organise the picking up of their junk through the website, a phone call, email or even SMS. ‘We have an 800-phone number and people call us and they schedule a pick up or send us an email, tell us the address and time that we should go to their house and take their allocated stuff.’ The turnaround is prompt, provided they receive 24 hours notice, because people are allocated a three hour gap and notification of a time of arrival.
The business is registered to run through redistributing as a merchant, not only does 800 Junk collect/buy furniture, they also refurbish it and sell the upgraded goods. The items that aren’t sellable are given to labourers or the less fortunate who cannot normally afford these kinds of items. Faisal says ‘We have a truck that we load up every day, and around 10.30pm it goes to different labour camps in the northern emirates and distributes furnishings such as book shelves, sofas, desks, it’s stuff we collect that we can’t sell or don’t want to sell, or it’s slightly damaged but still usable – to reduce the amount of landfill.’
They sell and distribute according to the goods, Faisal says they sell the goods, regardless of original price, to the low-income earners in northern emirates. ‘It all depends on the condition of the things we get, we aren’t a charity. We are a full-fledged business and our target market is the low-income bracket.’
The team works six days per week in Abu Dhabi (seven days in Dubai), collecting goods from all over the country. Their Facebook page gives updates and before and after images of some of the salvaged goods.
As the environmental awareness in the country grows, so does the demand for provision of environmental services – 800 Junk is a mutually beneficial set-up between people looking to clean out and receivers. ‘I think it speaks for itself. If there wasn’t a need, people wouldn’t call us. People call us because they are always moving, sending cargo back home, which is very expensive, or they used to live in a house and are moving into an apartment. Instead of having to sell stuff on Dubizzle or get people to buy it, they just give us a call to collect the junk.’ Since beginning of 800 Junk, in 2007, thousands of pieces of furniture have been collected, bought and distributed to those in need through sales and giveaways. After expenses, the company also donates part of the proceeds to various private community projects including providing released prisoners with a one-way ticket to return to their home country.
Removal is free. For more information visit www.takemyjunkuae.com ( 800 JUNK (5865)).