Image by Alan Van Wijgerden
Article by Jazz Moreton
DISCLAIMER: NEITHER ALAN VAN WIJGERDEN NOR JAZZ MORETON HAVE EVER WORKED AS BIN MEN (OR WOMEN) AND NOR DO THEY HAVE ANY PERSONAL CONNECTIONS TO BIN MEN.
Nearly all of Coventry’s residents are disgruntled at the moment. Our streets are filling with uncollected rubbish. Our bin men are on strike.
The strike is over pay: our city council is refusing to raise the low wages of our bin lorry drivers, who according to Unite the Union earn less than HGV drivers in Coventry.
Your intrepid reporter, Jazz Moreton, bravely cycled to speak to the bin lorry drivers on the picket line at Whitley depot (your intrepid photojournalist, Alan Van Wijgerden, got the bus) after having got into a rather heated (on the part of other residents) discussion about the rubbish that is now littering our streets on a Facebook page. Popular opinion- gleaned from talking to Coventry residents- in the city seems to be that the rubbish bags and litter littering our streets need to be collected.
Jazz doesn’t disagree, per sé, but strongly suggests that all residents separate their rubbish into compostables (temporarily stored in an airtight bin or box for people- like herself- that don’t have a garden)- that’s food waste and garden waste, with particular emphasis on fruit and veg peelings; recyclables (temporarily stored in a large box in the kitchen or another room of the house)- that’s paper, cardboard, glass, and certain plastics; and then the (presumably limited) rest goes into general waste- that’s non-recyclable plastics and foods that can’t be composted such as meat, fish, and dairy products. This would limit the amount of waste that’s too unhygienic to remain in one’s property until the bin strike is resolved. There are also simple swaps to be made regarding the type of products that one uses: Jazz Moreton would recommend swapping supermarket shopping to small, local refill suppliers for packaging-free dry foods, fruit, veg, and household product refills. By her logic, the less waste that we create while the bin strike is on - this is for the foreseeable future, the less problematic the limited bin collections will be.
Although the pair failed to get any interviews with the workers, who want to okay it with their union first, they showed their support by joining the picket line and chatting with the striking workers, who were all extremely friendly and kind. An important thing for unhappy Coventry residents to remember is that bin men are people too, and opening a friendly conversation with them may help to form a better understanding of the struggle that they reportedly face to get financial equality to similar workers.