Friday, October 26, 2012


Emergency services clean the streets after Nelson, 1966

There was a time when our binmen were true professionals. They hoisted our metal bins on their shoulders and dumped the contents into that quaint lorry with the slidey side doors. They took pride in their work and had a relationship with their clients which usually climaxed with a knock on the door at Christmas at which point either money or cigarettes changed hands.

They knew a lot of things, not all of which came from observing the rubbish as it left the bin. They knew, for example, that they were binmen.

And today, even in the face of this awful tragedy, the sub headliner at the Press Association does the honours.

Having passed through the politically correct extavagance of things like "refuse disposal engineer" the media eventually tended to settle for more prosaic titles like "waste worker" (per the Irish Times).

However, given the behaviour of the current crowd, who not only treat the plastic bins as if they were made of titanium but then plonk them in the middle of the driveway so you have to shift them to get your car back in, I think a more appropriate title would be "Rubbish Collector" with all the ambiguity that title implies.

Empty bin left blocking the driveway

Empty bin left blocking the driveway

Empty bin left blocking the driveway and the road


Anonymous said...

Fascinating picture - you're a mine of them.
Re the drive blockers etc - same everywhere.

Póló said...


I've been taking photos since I was 10 or thereabouts. Lots more where that came from :)

Póló said...

I have been having an email run in with the bin company, in the course of which they told me all their operatives (binmen) knew exactly what they should do with the bins. They were then insisting they would only take action, like talk to their operatives, if I made an official complaint. This really sounds like a crowd that has some regard for its customer base. But then they really don't need to. The City Council was only dying to get rid of this service and handed over their own customer base, including records that may have breached data protection legislation, to this crowd.

The transition proved very messy with lots of bins left uncollected by the new crowd. Whatever right they may have had on their side in their disputes with City Hall, they certainly did not give the impression that they gave a fig about their new customers.

I remember hearing complaints on Joe Duffy's show at the time that their depot was causing a stink in the local area and that they were impervious to complaints from the locals. They have also had a number of run ins with the EPA, one of which involved the illegal storage of 3,000 bales (= tonnes) of rubbish.

Anyway, I did not think I should have to make an official complaint to actually get the service they claimed they were already providing. So I asked them for a copy of the instructions they issued to their operatives regarding bin collecting. No go. Make an official complaint.

Today they did not collect my bin. They left a plastic notice on it telling me

Unfortunately we were unable to lift your bin today, please contact our office to help resolve this issue.

Sounds like it was drafted by a PR consultant who never met the company.

Now, they were perfectly within their rights. I had checked my account a few days previously and had enough credit for a lift, but I'd forgotten that the annual charge kicked in on 1 January and my account fell into serious deficit as a result (until midday today). So, no gripe about being in the wrong. But how should they have handled it? I would have thought a note saying: we may not be able to collect the next lot, please check out with the office in the meantime. Instead I'm left with a full bin and they only come round every two weeks. No prize for thinking up a suitable curse.