Meet two generations of Byron Shire waste removalists. They are the men who start work before dawn.
The unsung heroes that keep our neighbourhoods clean and tidy. Hear their stories and what you can do to make their jobs a little bit easier.
Recycling truck driver: Ray Profke. Age: 63. Time spent in industry: 46 years. Born: Boonah, Queensland. Lives: Ballina. Grandchildren: 3
Ray started driving trucks when he was 17-years-old in his hometown of Boonah. His first job was emptying sanitary cans from the outhouses (before flush toilets).
It was a very labour intensive job and the spiders and snakes that greeted him made it interesting. He then worked for 15 years driving gravel trucks before moving into rubbish and recycling.
What do you love about your job? I love helping people.
What annoys you most about your job? People who place their bins the wrong way around or too far from the curb.
Rubbish hanging out of the bin as it gets stuck on the arms of the lifter and makes a mess on the road. Impatient drivers who can’t seem to wait for me to empty what is probably their rubbish bin.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened while driving? I was about to pick up a rubbish bin when a young boy randomly jumped out of it. It scared the life out of me and ultimately he could have been killed.
Garbage truck driver: Ricky Small. Age: 27.
Time spent in industry: one year. Born: Liverpool, NSW. Lives: Ocean Shores. Children: one.
Ricky was born in Liverpool in Sydney but moved to Byron shortly after that. He grew up in Bangalow and went to Bangalow Primary then Byron High. Studying fitness initially, he fell into truck driving through word of mouth.
What do you love about your job? The hours and the autonomy.
What annoys you most about your job? The traffic in and out of Byron, especially in holiday seasons.
People who park their cars in front of garbage bins.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened while driving?I was driving a rubbish truck up in Ocean Shores after Australia Day and some joker had stacked four full rubbish bins on top of one another. Apart from it being structurally impressive, they were a complete hassle to get down.
For more information on waste issues please contact Kate Pye, the education officer for Solo Resource Recovery, on 6687 0455.