Cat, rabbit, passports: What UAE residents have accidentally given away with junk

One resident had given away his old sofa without retrieving his pet hiding inside it


Mazhar Farooqui

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Image used for illustrative purpose.
Image used for illustrative purpose.

Published: Mon 12 Dec 2022, 6:52 PM

Last updated: Mon 23 Oct 2023, 11:38 AM

Passports, wallets, and watches top the list of things mistakenly given away with trash in the UAE, a leading junk removal company has revealed.

Faisal Khan, CEO and founder of Take My Junk, said they once even returned a pet cat to its owner. "Our guys were driving back from a house with a truckload of unwanted items when they got a call. It was from the man who had hired our services. He was enquiring about a missing cat.

"The removal team stopped the pickup and rummaged through the discarded items. Sure enough, the cat was there. As it turned out, the homeowner had given away his old sofa without retrieving his pet cat hiding inside it," Khan recalled. "We found a pet rabbit under similar circumstances."

On another occasion, Khan said, their junk removal truck had to make a U-turn to return a refrigerator that a maid had mistakenly given away. "The homeowner had left instructions on what to dump. The maid thought the items included the refrigerator as well."

Khan said they routinely find passports, wallets, watches, car keys and TV remote controls wedged in the crevices between sofa cushions. "All items are duly returned," he said.

The Canadian expat founded the free-of-cost service in 2009 with just one pickup. Today, he has 35. Between them, they visit roughly 200 homes and offices daily, hauling 1,000 tonnes of discarded items every month.

Kayaks, dog homes, Red London telephone booths are among many unusual items that have ended up in their warehouses in recent times.

The goods are kept for about a month, after which they are repurposed or recycled and resold at the company's Bu Faisal thrift stores in Ajman.

"Almost nothing goes to waste," said Khan. "We have reduced landfill waste by giving a new lease of life to furniture and household items while also providing inexpensive alternatives to people."

Khan said one of his biggest concerns is the sudden proliferation of copycat junk removal companies that charge anywhere between Dh200 and Dh400 per visit.

"Our services are totally free. So, if a company asks for money, be forewarned; it is not us."


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