Despite increasingly placing the onus on the public to do almost all the work involved in household waste collections, dustmen, or refuse operatives as they prefer to be called nowadays, are claiming that the effort required of them is still too much. Consequently, several councils are looking at motorised wheelie-bins to ease the physical demands of pushing bins all the way from the pavement outside a house to the dustcart as it parks as close as humanly possible. In some cases, the distance that the operatives are expected to push the wheelie-bin is as much as ten feet each way, leading to some bins being left abandoned by the side of the road as exhaustion overcomes the council workmen.
“We’ve come a long way since the days when your dustman walked up your drive to collect your bin, carried it over his shoulder and emptied it into the cart,” explained a spokesman from Dorset County Council. “But we can still do more to help our beleaguered waste management crews. In addition to considering motorised wheelie-bins, we’re also looking at the button they have to press to activate the mechanism which lifts the bin up and empties it for them. Apparently it can be very hard on the index finger.”