Every day, seven days a week our crews are out, emptying bins at the hundreds of businesses we work with, from the smallest corner shops to schools, football clubs, holiday parks, shopping centres and even airports. We collect 1500 tonnes of waste every single week in our fleet of trade waste vehicles, Front End Loaders and Roll on Roll off skips. All that waste is brought back to our Materials Recycling Facility in Liverpool to be processed. Our trade trucks are staffed with a driver and bin loader, and on average one of our bin loaders will walk up to five miles a day on the rounds, getting out, collecting bins, bringing them to the trucks and then putting them back in place.
So, what’s a day in the life of our crew actually like? Claire from our PR and social media department’s been out on one of the Front End Loader trucks to find out.
The FIRST thing you notice, it’s an EARLY start!! By 4am all our drivers are in, they’ve collected their keys and job list for the day, but before any trucks hit the road, safety checks are carried out on all of them. This involves everything being checked…. the brakes, lights, mirrors, tyres, wheels, the security of the wheels and tyres, the condition of the windscreens and windscreen wipers. Operation of all body equipment on all our trucks is also checked before leaving the depot. Bin lifting equipment checked, hook lift operation checked, and skip lifts checked.
Checks all done and it’s off.. our fleet of bright yellow trucks heading off to various customers across the northwest and beyond to collect waste, which will then be brought back to our Materials Recycling Facility in Liverpool to be processed.
We’re setting off with Neil on his FEL round around Warrington, Haydock, Speke and Liverpool equipped with his waste collection sheet. The sheet’s basically a rough guide to Neil’s route, which is carefully planned to use less fuel, which cuts down on carbon emissions and is also more cost effective. There are also various instructions on the collection sheet relating to different customers, things along the lines of “not to be emptied before 8:30am”. This can be down to all sorts of things, including noise pollution, (the last thing you want is a noisy bin truck waking you up at 5:30am)..and also, access times. On the FEL round a lot of our customers are on industrial parks, which aren’t open until certain times. Our first stop off on our route is Byrchall High School in Newton Le Willows.
Some schools only allow us on site when no staff or pupils are there, so our drivers are given keys to access the gates and key codes for opening systems, the same goes for a lot of commercial premises, so a big part of our crew’s day involves them getting in and out of the cab to open and close gates! Neil and all our drivers and loaders are also trained to check ALL containers before they’re lifted, due to the risk of people sleeping in there. This is a big problem within the homeless community, and we work very closely with The Whitechapel Centre in Liverpool to raise awareness of the dangers. Neil’s checked this bin, so it’s on to lift and empty it.
Now, if you’ve never seen an FEL truck in action, they’re a serious piece of engineering and technology. The prongs go into the slots on either side of the container, it’s then lifted, the flaps on the top of the truck open, and Neil will shake the container until it’s empty. The truck is equipped with cameras, so Neil can see exactly what’s going into the back of the truck, as an extra safety measure. When the bin’s empty, the FEL is lowered back to ground level and the flaps close. Perfect synchronisation. The back of the trucks also contain compaction equipment which crushes the waste in the back so we can get all the waste in
Another big thing you notice when you’re out in one of our trucks is the skill and precision of our drivers. A lot of the roads we have to use weren’t designed for big bin trucks, so to see the drivers like Neil manoeuvre the trucks and get them into real tight spaces is incredible. (From Claire’s point of view, she drives a mini, so after being out on one of the trucks always comes back agog at how good the drivers actually are!) After a few more stops it’s time for Neil’s first Tacho break. The rules around how long drivers can be on the road without a break are very strict. They can’t work for more than 6 hours at once or can’t drive for more than four and a half hours without a break. On each break we saw other drivers in the same position, looking for somewhere to park, and have a rest before carrying on their working day.
From being on the road at 4:30am, it’s now back to the yard in Liverpool to tip at 2:30pm, which marks the end of Neil’s day. So, quite a long day, but very busy, and really interesting to see all the businesses we work with. Our day out with Neil included servicing schools, factories, shops and also the fab Willow Catering in Aintree, home to undoubtedly the best Hotdog van around!
So, next time you see one of our trucks, give the crew a wave!! They’re out on the road before many of us are even awake, providing what is a vital service to hundreds of businesses, and as you can see, the job involves a lot more than just sitting in the cab!