Budapest Has a National “Get-Rid-of-Junk” Day

Once every spring, a surreal phenomenon sweeps the streets of Hungary’s capital of Budapest. “Lomtalanítás” — or get-rid-of-junk day — provides free disposal of bulk garbage. After tons of trash pile up throughout the neighborhood over the next few days, city workers laboriously pick up the motley debris in a fleet of trucks, and life goes back to normal. However, during this period — when the unwanted items are up for grabs on the streets — a temporary sensation of lawless disorder reigns, as opportunistic citizens from across the city descend into the pyramids of discarded items in search of whatever valuables they may find. Considering the range of urban treasures that can be found, it’s quite possible that some professional scavengers earn more money by selling what they find than the income provided by Hungary’s minimum wage.