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My time on the bins was not a waste

Student goes out with dustmen

bCANTERBURY Christ Church University student Frazer Edwards, pictured, appeared in the Times at the start of last year complaining about the build-up of rubbish outside his house. Frazer, 21, then spent ten weeks with Serco, which is employed to clear the area’s rubbish.

WASTE management is of vital importance to both human health and to the environment. Landfill sites are slowly filling up with predictions that in ten years all the current landfill space will have been used up. The decreasing amount of space available means that there is a continued need for people to recycle effectively and properly in order to reduce the volume of waste that is sent to landfill. In January 2013, I appeared in the Times following a complaint 1 made about the lack of waste collections where I was living. The communal waste was building up, looked unsightly, smelt and was embarrassing. The paper took me seriously and reported my story.

As a geography student I already have an interest in the environment and schemes to manage and sort waste. I decided to follow up on my personal concerns by becoming involved. I applied to Serco to do a ten-week internship during my summer holiday, which coincided with the introduction of the new waste collection scheme being introduced to Canterbury. During my ten weeks I observed office procedure, made maps for the new bin delivery routes (great for geographers), answered phone calls from the public on the help desk and went out on the bin lorries for two weeks.


WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH: Frazer complained about the overflowing rubbish outside his house and was featured in the Times in January 2013
WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH: Frazer complained about the overflowing rubbish outside his house and was featured in the Times in January 2013

This enabled me to get a complete overview of the whole Serco system. I learnt a huge amount about the waste industry and just how much work goes into collecting just one bin! I became fascinated by this essential service and this has now formed the basis of my third year dissertation. I aim to find out what motivates US to recycle and what helps and hinders the average household in their recycling endeavours. When I first started, I had no idea what the following ten weeks would hold for me but the Serco experience proved to be rewarding, enjoyable and informative. All of the staff at Serco were both very welcoming and friendly and thus this made me feel very welcome when I first started in June. When it came to the end of August 1 really didn’t want to leave. It was rather strange not getting up in the morning to go to Serco. The most enjoyable aspect was making the maps for the new bin delivery; I felt as if I was playing a part in Canterbury’s new waste management scheme. My thanks go to both Chris Sear and Dave Williamson who let me have this unique opportunity of being at Serco.

Herne Bay Times, January 2nd 2014

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