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Chapter 4 of Sweet Darusya contains the following quote:

The children carry iron as if they were taking it to a transfer station.

I'm confused about what that actually means. What is a "transfer station" in this context, and why would you carry iron there? In what manner would one normally carry iron to a transfer station?

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Here's the same quote in Ukrainian (highlight mine):

Діти несуть залізо, як на приймальний пункт, а Цвичок голосно розпоряджається: коротке залізо - під стіну, довгі труби - в хату, гайки-цвики - у плетений кіш.

The term приймальний пункт (literally, "reception point") stands for recycling center, so the more precise translation would be:

The children carry iron as if they were taking it to a recycling station […]

Materials recycling used to be popular in times of Soviet occupation, and the officials have largely involved children in the collection of various materials — mostly paper and iron.

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  • I think transfer is used to show that it isn't the final destination for the waste: "Waste transfer stations link solid waste collection programs with community recycling centres and waste disposal facilities. These transfer stations play an important role in a community's waste management system by providing an effective way to consolidate and manage recyclables and waste." epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/waste/local-council-operations/…
    – tgdavies
    Feb 10, 2023 at 11:42
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    @tgdavies Yes. Not sure about the USSR, but in the US a "transfer station" is a facility where people bring waste and recyclables so they can be sorted and loaded on to trucks to be taken to landfills or recycling centers. Like a bus station for garbage. Children would bring items to transfer stations, but not to the sanitation end-points.
    – tbrookside
    Feb 10, 2023 at 12:07
  • Thanks, this makes a lot more sense. Welcome to the site by the way - excellent answer. Feb 10, 2023 at 13:42
  • I highly doubt it's a thing today, but when I was growing up in the Northeast I'd go with my dad on trash day to the local transfer station (we did indeed call it that, although others in town might've called it "the dump") and I'd climb down into the bin of PC waste and grab whatever looked interesting. There were about 2 dozen bins of various sizes for segregating post-consumer materials. It was like a flea market of free stuff for anyone brave enough to jump in.
    – Jamesfo
    Feb 20, 2023 at 7:24

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