To be honest I never thought I’d be blogging about wheelie bin trucks but with the recently introduced Transpacific wheelie bin trucks rolled out as part of the Christchurch City Council’s new kerbside collection programme they have been the talk of the town. Now you’re probably thinking Christchurch people need to get out more but honestly rubbish collection here is serious business; the wild protests and record complaints received by the council when the number of rubbish bags were halved a couple of years ago was ample proof of that. So how is everyone coping with the latest development? While there’s been a few hiccups it seems everyone’s getting the hang of it and, strangely enough, are completely fascinated with the new trucks. How do I know this? Because of YouTube.
It started innocently enough; I got some footage of one of the new trucks making its first collection in our street. It was a howling southerly, the sort of day that would normally have sent the recycling crate on a merry journey down the road but the wheelie bins survived admirably. I put the clip on YouTube (where most of my short movies go, mostly to save space on my local drive) and thought nothing more of it – until the comments started coming through and the view count started getting above 100 (I’m not YouTube celebrity so these are big numbers for me!). When I began getting requests for more footage I realised that these humble rubbish trucks actually had a surprisingly large fan base! So now I have the dubious task of taking movies of these trucks whenever and wherever they are to be found, quietly minding their own business, not realising that there are YouTube fans out there hungry for a glimpse. I’m pretty sure the drivers think I’m just a little special but as yet haven’t asked what I’m doing or tried to confiscate the camera (that would be good for the ratings).
Well who am I to deny the watching public the opportunity to see their city’s kerbside collection at work. The robotic arm has no doubt captured the imagination of many who possibly worry it might by accident collect a few small children along the way. I have to feel sorry for the drivers as it’s not always as straighforward as it looks. Narrow streets, crowded bins (they are meant to be at least 50cm apart) and parked cars (this has been noted as the biggest complaint by drivers as it means they need to get out and move the bins). On average, it takes drivers about 13 seconds per bin and on most days collect about 130,000 tonnes of material. It’s a big operation. Transpacific Industries (who run the collection on behalf of the CCC) has spent $17 million on 48 new trucks and $20 million on 450,000 wheelie bins.
Yep, I bet you’ll never look at rubbish collection in quite the same way and it’s possibly I’ll be snapping more footage of these trucks – here’s hoping it doesn’t become an obsession or I’m sure I’ll get done for stalking. Learn more the new wheelie bin collection system at www.loveyourrubbish.co.nz.