Today we meet Kevin O'Neil to discover what his day entails and why he loves the world of waste...
The role of a refuse driver at Cawleys is certainly a busy one, and if you don’t like early starts, it’s not for you!
Every morning I rise and shine at 3am ready for the working day. On arrival at our Luton depot I waste no time in getting straight to my treasured truck, which I have affectionately named ‘Genie’, on account of her number plate. I then get stuck into my routine checks, including: oil, water, tyre pressure, standard safety equipment and we’re ready to go.
Focused directly on picking up general waste and mixed recycling from the surrounding Luton area, mine is one of the busiest waste collection routes at Cawleys.
My first collection point is less than a minute’s drive away, and no sooner am I in my cab than I’m out of it again. I collect the bins, get them tipped, then jump back into my truck and head for the next collection point.
The rest of the day continues in much the same way. The early start allows me to quickly and easily get a head start on my round. Up until about 7am I progress nicely on quiet roads with no distractions, thankfully there are no microphones in my cab to capture me singing along to Heart FM!
After 7am the situation changes, traffic builds up and clients often enjoy a quick chat and a polite hello. By 1pm my round is usually complete, so I head back to the depot, get Genie on the weigh bridge and tip her load.
Most days follow a similar format but as I have been with Cawleys such a long time, it’s not unusual for me to be seconded onto other jobs. This week I’m covering for a colleague driving Rear End Loaders at a Luton airport site!
A long Cawleys Career
Having been employed at Cawleys for more than 20 years, my enjoyment of the job speaks for itself. As a self-confessed truck enthusiast since childhood, driving one every day still makes me smile. I also enjoy peace and quiet and tranquillity of the truck in the early hours with the contrast of seeing so many of our long- standing customers each day for a cheery hello. Also, because I’m in and out of my cab so much the job goes a long way to keeping me in shape!
As for challenges, the most tricky thing is probably some of the driver skills that are need to squeeze into tight spaces or access difficult to reach collection sites. The obvious aspects such as extreme weather and traffic can also make the job a little frustrating at times.
In my opinion, people definitely need more education around recycling, particularly around which items can and can’t be recycled. Cawleys’ infinity scheme is focused on segregating key items for recycling but this only works if contamination is kept to a minimum and the right waste items are put into the right bags.
All in all I enjoy my role at Cawleys very much, the company has a real family feel and i love being part of such a caring and hard working team.
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