One of the biggest problems with the waste industry is that apart from those people who work in it, nobody wants to know much about it. To the average person, rubbish is what other people deal with, a dirty, dusty job that holds little attraction. The reality of it is without the waste industry in the UK, the country would grind to a halt, disease would spread and vermin would populate at an exponential rate.
The lack of glamour puts people off considering what happens to their bin bags after they’re thrown in the wheelie bin or their bathroom refurbishment once their builder skip is picked up from the driveway. People assume that once they’ve separated their waste in to separate bins, the job is done. However, us lot in the waste industry know that this is far from the truth. The waste sector is a huge and complex industry – employing hundreds of thousands of people sorting through millions of tonnes of waste each year. All bound by tightening legislation and red tape – the waste industry is overlooked and largely ignored.
One documentary series has decided to shed some much needed light on the industry that is one of the biggest employers in the UK. Sky Vision’s Bin There Dump That, is a six-part serial which focuses on characters involved in gulley sucking, hazardous waste, skip hire and street cleaning.
JD, the street cleaner, works in north-west London for Veolia Environmental during the week and flies home to Italy to DJ at the weekends. He must also be in the running for world’s most cheerful street cleaner. The programme shows him going about his day job, singing to passers-by while he sweeps the roads and pavements of his neighbourhood. JD then goes for an interview which would mean more money and a chance to drive his own truck to complete his duties. The programme ends with JD getting the job and driving away on his new set of wheels.
The main bulk of the show rests with Reston Waste, a skip hire and waste management company based in south west London. The cameras follow Andy Reston the boss, his daughter – and heir to the waste throne – Harriet, Danny the office manager and Ian the yard manager. While Andy is away on holiday, the cameras capture the telehandler hydraulic pipe breaking down, trucks queuing up all the way down the road to tip and Harriet’s quest to complete her HGV license.Former skip chick and waste industry legend, Kara Rouse, goes about her day-to-day business as a HGV driver. In pink hi-viz, the 5’1” redhead charges around the landfill tips of Nottinghamshire in her 8-wheel Scania walking floor trailer. She believes Bin There Dump That is a force for good. “The show has been really good to watch, lots of great characters and a true portrayal of what life is like on the tips. It’s dirty and mucky and I love it!”
Skip Hire Magazine features in the final episode of the series, with sales and operations manager Debbie Higham and editor Louise Malpas going down to London to visit the team at Reston Waste in Wimbledon. In a bid to boost morale within the office and yard of Reston, Danny Childs, the self-titled ‘chief officer for entertainment’ lines up a selection of skip chicks and skip hunks to hopefully land a double page feature in the next issue of the waste magazine. It’s Debbie and Louise’s jobs to rifle through the talent and give the unwitting team the verdict on who gets the prestigious prize of Skip Hunk and Skip Chick of the Month (see July 2014’s issue).
Debbie commented on the filming, “It was brilliant fun to film, and great to meet the guys at Reston Waste. The skip hunk filming was hilarious and there were quite a few outtakes – but we loved every minute of it. The camera crew weren’t too invasive and made us feel comfortable to interact with the gang and have a laugh in the process. I think what the documentary has done is valuable to the industry – it’s made up of real-life, hilarious, down-to-earth people, which is why I love working in it so much.”
Ultimately, it is an honest, endearing and funny portrayal of the waste industry. Exposing the various characters that make up the business, Bin There Dump That succeeds where previous documentary series have failed, by offering a non-patronising, truthful account of the highs, the lows and the pros and cons of this most maligned industry.
The series is executively produced by Danny Tipping, Director of Programming & Development at Sky Vision Productions, who commented,
“The series was as fun to make as it is to watch. The waste industry is full of characters and we’re happy we’ve had the chance to share some of them with the TV viewing public.’’ Tipping concluded.
UKTV senior commissioning editor, Catherine Catton, told Skip Hire Magazine, “The series delves into the lives of people who aren’t often in the limelight and is a surprising and genuinely uplifting piece of television.”
Production co-ordinator for the show, Lucy Sanders, has revealed that viewing figures were higher than expected, and talks are in place for a second series. “We’ve had an amazing reception from everyone we’ve spoken to about the show. We’ve had calls from the various members who have made up the cast, and everyone has been really positive. Figures that have come back show the programme ranking high for that evening, and for Watch, that’s brilliant news. Here’s to a second series!”