Every Christmas and New Year, it was a tradition to leave some beers out for the garbos…..
I’ve just put up the garbage and it got me remembering back to a time when we had 3 or 4 garbos running up and down the street, dressed in footy shorts and singlet, banging and clanging the old metal garbage bins as they emptied the rubbish into the back of the old garbage truck. How times have changed!
They’d be be banging the bins at 5 in the morning, waking up the neighbourhood, the truck revving up the street and the guys yelling to one another.
At Christmas and New Year, we always used to leave some beers out for the garbos, which was the traditional thing to do and it meant that your lid would be put back on the bin and it was always put back carefully.
It would have been a bloody tough job, cold and wet in winter, stinking hot in summer and I can never recall any of the blokes wearing protective clothing either, or those coloured visible vests which they would certainly be required to wear today! OH&S would have a field day if they tried to do it today.
For many it was a way to keep super fit and earn an income. It was not at all unusual to see your favourite footy player kicking goals for your team on Saturday afternoon and then see him on Monday morning running up and down the street, chasing the truck, collecting the rubbish bins.
These days there’s just one person driving the truck, sitting in the air conditioned cabin operating the hydraulic arm, lifting the large wheelie bins and gently putting them back down. The new systems would have been introduced in the mid 80’s(?) with the plastic ‘Sulo’ bins and have now developed into a 3 bin system, rubbish, recyclable and green waste.
In a Facebook post published last year on the subject of garbos, Louie Laudonia wrote of his experience as a modern day ‘garbo’; “I’m a garbo for Mitcham. I agree it used to physically tough back in the day but it is a different kind of tough now!
Try driving on the left hand side of the truck, dodging parked cars, cars parked in front of bins, bins so close together that they can’t be picked up, picking up a minimum of 1200 bins per day, etc…I come home after a 10 hour day feeling mentally exhausted.
We do a lot more than just sitting on our bums and working a lever….we operate 8 buttons and watch a monitor every time we empty a bin to see what goes in and if it is empty, on top of that we’re watching mirrors and driving. These days a lot of people don’t realise how it operates, how skilled it is and the hours required.
I love my job and occasionally we get the thank you’s, a non-alcoholic drink and a wave from children with their parents and that makes my day as we feel appreciated”.