A public service in Raglan, in praise of our waste collection

There is a set of skilled workers to be admired in Raglan. Dodging the traffic they leap on and off the ever-moving Waste Collection vehicle as it devours the contents of the smart green containers that house the pleasures of the week.

Bottles – what stories they might tell – of green, brown and clear glass; plastic, tins and convenience food containers, the evidence of a well catered for community.

Rubbish is probably an indication of the diet and lifestyle of the inhabitants behind the kerbside. History has shown in ancient rubbish dumps a great deal about the life and wealth of past generations. I wonder: How will we measure up?

The energy and skills of these men who collect our rubbish is an example to all workers. Watch and you will see their athleticism as they jump from the moving truck platform; dodging the traffic they race down the road from one green bin to the next, one man running ahead to sort the bins, speeding up the task for the next guy who swipes up the bin with one hand and throws it to one of the guys on the truck. A second man empties the bin into the correctly colour-coded green, brown and clear glass areas, tins are for a separate area, cardboard another area, and so it goes until all the garbage is filed. The empty bin is then thrown back to the guy on the roadside. Three seconds have elapsed. The truck hardly needed to slow down.

Another truck arrives, this one to deal with the rubbish bags which are swooped up from the kerbside and tossed with accuracy into the hopper of the ever moving vehicle. Occasionally a stray dog has ripped into a bag and cast the non-edible contents far and wide over the roadside but our man scoops it all up and heaves it onto the truck, the momentum is hardly broken.

These men have turned what might have been a soul-destroying task into a fun competition, with speed accuracy and fitness enough to challenge any Olympic hopeful. Is there a stop watch in the truck, is it a competition to find the fastest team of the week or is it pride that inspires these public servants to do a good job quickly and efficiently?

PDB Raglan Writing Group