People are increasingly ridding their homes of fashionable furniture, electronics and sporting goods, a sign that Calgary's economy is improving, says a spokesman for a junk removal company.
Michel Luhnau, general manager of Calgary's 1-800-Got-Junk, says business has been on the rise and clients are paying to get rid of "more and more substantially good items."
Earlier this month, RBC Economics forecast Alberta will lead the country in economic growth in 2012, with the province's best showing since the boom of 2006. The far less scientific "junk barometer" points towards an improving economy as well.
Edwin Hodgson, an employee with the junk removal company, says the quality of stuff people are scrapping has improved dramatically over the last year.
"People are not afraid to spend money now," he says. "We're going back to the old system where we just replaced everything every three or four years."
During the recession, says Hodgson, "people were holding onto stuff."
"Now the furniture is starting to come back and we're getting leather couches and hide-a-beds, Lazy boy chairs and nice bed frames," he said.
Hodgson recalls a woman throwing out a full patio set recently.
"It was only about three months old, but they were going to repaint their house and it didn't match the new colour of their house so they were getting rid of it," he said.
Hodgson guesses half the stuff he picks up is still worth something.
Co-worker Jeff Chatelain said he often carts away perfectly good toys, ski racks, electronics and furniture.
"Some stuff is left unopened and they just don't want to move it or something and so they just call us."
The company boasts that 70 per cent of the stuff it collects gets re-sold, re-used or recycled.
Tom Mostowich, who runs the junk collection service's sorting centre, said lots of stuff is donated to charity. Last week he helped a man recently released from drug rehab furnish his home.
"We hooked him up with a whole bunch of furniture for an extremely, extremely good price. It just feels good to help people. We essentially just need to sell it, get it out of here, because if somebody takes it, it's a million times better than taking it to the dump."