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Trying to maintain my Covid weight loss and my daughter trying to lose her work from home weight gain, we rise extra early every weekday to take a brisk walk to the station to collect a newspaper before returning through the park. It makes a great start to the day – particularly with the spectacular early morning sunrises we’ve been enjoying and the crunch of the icy grass underfoot. This morning, when we returned to the busy streets, we came across the refuse collectors cheerfully going about their work, throwing smiles and ‘Good mornings’ to everyone they passed. It occurred to us that while we relish being out and about as the sun’s just rising, throwing a silvery sparkle across the ground and reddening the trees, it must take a lot to be cheerful working in this environment every day with strict deadlines to meet, dodging slow moving vehicles and enduring impatient toots and shouts from drivers being held up or forced to brake. Then there’s the rain and wind to contend with on less idyllic days. I write this at 08:00 and my car’s still thick with ice. I’m wondering whose job it is to be first in the refuse lorry, when it’s cold, possibly wet inside with condensation and the windscreen covered in ice. Is it done on a rota, or does the newest member of the team draw the short straw? Are the windscreens sprayed with de-icer or is the ice removed manually, as mine is?
Then there’s ‘Ratty Monday’… Apparently, refuse collectors dread Monday mornings more than the rest of us do, as they have to deal with overfilled commercial bins in which rats have had the chance to settle relatively undisturbed over the weekend. “When we go to empty a bin on a Monday, there’s a stream of rats running to safety,” one collector told BusinessWaste.co.uk “It’s really bad if it’s a food store or a restaurant, and the lids haven’t been secured. We club the bins with a big stick, then give the rats time to run away. It’s terrifying.” Waste collector Divert.co.uk reveals that everyone’s afraid of being bitten, saying: “Our teams go into action with trousers tucked into boots and sleeve cuffs done up tight. But that’s still no guarantee.”
Bins have lids for a reason. What a shame those who overfill their bins so the lids won’t shut, don’t have a big stick of their own to contend with… A fine from the local council! Our refuse collectors don’t have the easiest job and careless businesses and residents shouldn’t be allowed to make it worse.
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27th January 2022