SINGAPORE- With Chinese New Year less than a month away, house-proud Chinese are outsourcing their spring cleaning - spelling boom time for bulky waste disposal and cleaning companies.
Nine of the 10 waste management and cleaning companies interviewed by SundayLife! say the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year are the busiest in the year for them. Demand for their services jumps by up to 60 per cent from November to Chinese New Year, compared to other months.
Ms Gi Gi Lok, 36, manager of cleaning company Budget Cleaning & Housekeeping Services, says: "Some customers made bookings as early as last October. We expect a lot of last-minute bookings this month."
Mr Adam Low, 34, operations director of waste management company Junk To Clear? says: "We get more than 200 residential disposal jobs a month and this starts to go up by about 50 per cent from November.
"This time of the year, some staff have to work 15-hour days from Monday to Saturday. They do not just transport items but have to dismantle furniture too. It is a stressful but important time for the company."
Customers hire them to dispose of old or broken electrical appliances and worn furniture such as beds, sofas and dining tables. There are also things such as large water fountains and giant stuffed toys.
Waste management companies usually charge disposal fees that start from about $80 for a sofa to between $200 and $400 for a lorry load of bulky items.
Last month, Ms Eunice Ong paid $280 for Junk To Clear? to remove 10 pieces of furniture from the Clementi mansionette where she lives with her husband and in-laws. The family had decided to throw out a three-seater sofa, two beds, a dining table and six chairs.
The 29-year-old project manager in online retail says: "We were doing some spring cleaning and wanted to change our furniture. Karung gunis take only small items and it would have been hard to remove everything ourselves, so we decided to hire them. They were pretty efficient."
Depending on the company, discarded junk from households is usually sent to welfare organisations, needy people, recycling centres, a landfill or an incineration plant.
One organisation which is putting second-hand objects to good use is The Salvation Army's social enterprise arm Red Shield Industries.
In the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, it usually receives about 250 to 350 tonnes of donations of bulky items, such as furniture, electrical appliances and musical instruments. This is up from the average of 100 to 150 tonnes of bulky item donations every month.