Search

All-in-one dustcarts lost to mists of time

PUBLISHED: 06:52 07 October 2017

Great Yarmouth soon after the war, when every household's dustbin was emptied weekly by the council. Today bulky wheelie bins, two per household, overwhelm narrow streets of terrace houses with small or non-existent gardens or yards. Picture: MERCURY LIBRARY

Great Yarmouth soon after the war, when every household's dustbin was emptied weekly by the council. Today bulky wheelie bins, two per household, overwhelm narrow streets of terrace houses with small or non-existent gardens or yards. Picture: MERCURY LIBRARY

Archant

Despite my oft-repeated claim that my lifelong ambition was to be a journalist, I must confess for a short time as a youngster I did fancy becoming... a dustman!

Yarmouth Corporation's refuse destructor after receiving a direct hit by a German bomb in 1942. Picture: OFFICIAL RECORDYarmouth Corporation's refuse destructor after receiving a direct hit by a German bomb in 1942. Picture: OFFICIAL RECORD

In my childhood binmen – among them, if I recall correctly, a family friend named Eddie Manship who played football for Gorleston – called weekly in an adapted lorry far removed from today’s sophisticated collection vehicles.

It was modified to include six “roller-blinds” (three each side) like those on a roll-top desk. The crew furled them up to empty into the lorry at shoulder height the two-handled galvanised iron domestic bathtubs filled with the contents from our bins, much of it cinders and ash from coal fires.

Everything was carted away, with no rigid enforced separation of types of waste as happens now. The so-called dust-carts headed to the corporation refuse destructor on the river bank off Lawn Avenue and Caister Road – a 40-year-old facility destroyed during an enemy air raid in 1942, with only the tall chimney surviving. Where the tip was thereafter I do not know.

For me, the operation’s chief appeal was those roll-top “blinds” on the lorry which I yearned to open and close.

I can but surmise that they sub-consciously forecast my adult future would be spent at an office desk, albeit flat and without all those interesting little compartments!

This recollection was sparked recently by reading items about our domestic rubbish, today a process so volatile that - elsewhere in the UK - bin lorries have CCTV cameras to record infringements, bin crews have filed seven million reports on householders infringing the rules, and councils might be banned from using the fines imposed as “cash cow” type of general income.

Locally, at Peggotty’s Hut our bi-weekly collections have never been beset by problems and the crews always seem efficient and friendly. Nothing in our bins has been rejected. But have we innocently transgressed, unnoticed?

Households have received a pamphlet listing “three simple rules” for recycling and items that are acceptable or not. Its recycling advice seems largely OK, although I wonder why dry empty bottles and jars should have their lids on. Will lids have to be removed by someone at the depot and put in a different classification for, say, cork, metal or plastic?

The pamphlet says “teams of people hand-sort your items before they are mechanically separated into raw materials needed to make new products” so perhaps they do it.

“No thanks” is a category including plastic bags (which surprised me - didn’t we all use supermarket bags when they were free, or black bin liners for conveniently avoiding messy bins?), cling film, tissues and kitchen roll, dirty or greasy paper, crisp packets, soft plastics and clothes and textiles. How we dispose of those items now? Put them into our grey bins?

Our Town Hall’s website tells us grey bins are for “general waste” so sounds like being the right receptacle...but I am sure that a few years back we were told officially hereabouts that they are for food waste only - in the case of Peggotty’s Hut in Gorleston, one modest plastic bag transferred from kitchen bin to empty wheelie bin on collection day.

Is that bag now forbidden?

An official recycling website says food waste must be kept separate for weekly collection - but that applies not to Yarmouth but only to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Norwich and Breckland where householders are issued with two waste caddies.

So, if our local grey bins are for general waste, does that include food waste? And can we now legitimately use the grey bin for items on that list of non-recyclables? If food waste is forbidden in grey or green bins, where can we dispose of it without it decaying?

As Morecambe and Wise used to crack: “What do you think of it so far?” “Rubbish!”

Other News

58 minutes ago

A Norfolk school has been praised by Ofsted for their development of “disengaged” pupils following its transformation from being an inadequate school.

Yesterday, 20:03

It was a case of Christmas come early for a number of youngsters at a Norfolk hospital who met their footballing heroes.

Yesterday, 19:52

Libraries around Norfolk are inviting people in for free tea and a friendly chat to help combat loneliness.

Yesterday, 17:56

For one 16-year-old boy from Norfolk, Thursday, December 6 started like any other weekday.

Most Read

Mon, 18:00

School trips usually involve taking children to see one of Shakespeare’s great plays or visiting a historic museum.

Read more

Plans for a former pub to be turned into a luxury tobacconist have been put under fire by a nearby health centre, with bosses arguing it would “give out entirely the wrong message”.

Read more
NHS
Mon, 11:42

Would you like to play a major part in restoring one of Great Yarmouth’s most historic tourist attractions to its former glory?

Read more
Barry Coleman
Mon, 09:21

A joyrider was arrested after crashing into a traffic bollard - and was found to be more than three times the legal driving limit when police breathalysed him.

Read more
Great Yarmouth police
Yesterday, 14:29

The inquest into the death of a three-year-old girl who died after being thrown from an inflatable trampoline on Gorleston beach has been adjourned because a police report into the incident is not ready.

Read more
Norwich

Local Weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 4°C

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Great Yarmouth Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy