What it's like to collect the bins during lockdown
Scott Forrester - image: Wandsworth Council
As we sit at home through another week of lockdown, it’s important to take a moment to remember those unsung heroes who are keeping the country running at this difficult time.
Scott Forrester drives a bin lorry for Wandsworth Council, and says work at the moment is “very, very heavy” because people are producing so much rubbish at home. He said: “I mostly get on the road by 6am and today I would have normally finished by 1.30pm, but I didn’t actually get done until 3.30pm. People are leaving so much waste out at the moment – and that’s even without us taking the green waste which has had to be put on hold.
“It’s the busiest it’s ever been and it’s even twice as heavy than it is at Christmas. It’s because people are now in all the time and they are having three meals a day at home, while they might normally have been having just one.”
Scott says his partner “was a bit worried” about him going out at the start of the lockdown.
“I explained that I wasn’t in as much contact with people as she might think. Even though we’re out and about we’re well insulated and isolated, we have gloves on all the time and we keep our distance from everybody.
“At the start of all this we did lose quite a few people who had to self-isolate which meant half the crew and twice the work, but now we’re getting back to full-strength again.”
He says the support from the public has been “brilliant,” and that it’s “great to be appreciated.”
“A lot of people have left us thank you cards and chocolates over Easter in particular which has been really nice. It’s great that people are doing things they don’t necessarily need to do.
Residents are also leaving notes on the bins and we now have a wall in our office covered with kids’ drawings – my favourite is one of a high five!”
He added: “We are key workers and have been called the ‘fourth emergency service’ and it’s nice that residents are on our side and are showing their thanks. We do feel valued and it’s brilliant seeing families coming out to wave at us – the children love the lorries.”
Normal rubbish and recycling collections are continuing as normal in Wandsworth and more recycling sacks are being delivered to cope with an increase in demand.
The Smugglers Way and Cringle Street waste facilities are closed to residents until further notice to maintain social distancing measures.
There are no immediate plans to reopen these.
Sain Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter
April 29, 2020