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Recycle Circus: The Commerce of a Community

What is it about other peoples’ junk? Last Sunday was Recycle Circus, the day in our town when people clean out their sheds and garages and bring the stuff down to the community center, which is called the Dance Palace.  Volunteers unload the pick-ups and spread the items out on the street.  People have a ball sifting through the old plumbing fixtures, exercise equipment and lengths of gutter.

Some do get a little grabby.  They hover near the trucks as they are unloaded, ready to pounce on cabinet or desk.  It made me think just a little of the wealthy matrons from the suburbs who would throng the entrance of the original Filenes Basement in Boston, and descend like vultures upon the sale bins when the doors opened. But that wasn’t the dominant note.  Recycle Circus isn’t just about stuff, or even mainly. It’s a community event, a kind of festival, when you just enjoy being out with others with the winter finally gone.



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Headshot of Jonathan Rowe

Jonathan Rowe was a writer who wrote about the commons, diseconomy, economics, economic indicators, corporations, and many other subjects.
Jonathan was an editor at the Washington Monthly magazine and a staff writer at the Christian Science Monitor. He contributed to Harper’s, the Atlantic Monthly, Reader’s Digest, Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, American Prospect, Adbusters, and a host of other publications.

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