26 February 2021


In Appreciation of our Waste Collectors

By Trish Murphy

My next-door neighbour and I have an unspoken arrangement that she puts the bins out the day before they are due and I bring them back after the Waste Collectors have emptied them.  Other neighbours remark that our bins being put out early lets them know which colour bin is due each week…  Again there is something unspoken but has an importance in the smooth running of our lives.

I wonder if our appreciation of Waste Collectors is unspoken and what the workers might want us to say to them.  Since the Covid Pandemic when I am bringing in the emptied bins I often have a chance to greet the Waste Collectors and to say ‘thank you’.  But it is such a rush as they scurry along in their rhythmic team work that one might fear interfering with the pace of their work.  However there is always an acknowledgement and a brief connection.  One suggested that I wear gloves ‘because we touch so many different bins’.   It is at times like this that I become aware of the pungent smell of waste and how our Collectors cannot escape this on every shift they work.

As a driver I am aware of my impatience if I am caught behind the Waste Collectors’ vehicles and sometimes it takes a while to get past – revving the engine or constant looking at the clock is not going to help one bit.  It’s a God- given pause to reflect on what is happening and to be thankful… and in the end to be able to give a smile and friendly wave as the wait ends.

Where would we be without our Waste Collectors?  They keep our environment healthy and safe especially in these times of heightened awareness of germs and viruses.  They carry out their tasks in all types of weather.  They know our seasons of waste:  Christmas trees and wrappings; garden waste; summer partying waste; Halloween rubbish.  Our Waste Collectors carry their own anxieties perhaps about their own wellness, about their work or about the health of their own loved ones….

Let us pray..

Listening and patient God we give thanks for our Waste Collectors.  We ask you to protect them and their loved ones at all times and to bless them especially during times of difficulty. Help us to be mindful of our waste and above all let us not waste opportunities to say ‘thank you’ for all your daily gifts.    


Saint Jude, pray for us; Saint Simon the Tanner, pray for us.

Trish is a parishioner at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Faversham, and a regular volunteer & Guild member of the Shrine of Saint Jude.