Well it's been a fab day on the bins. I must admit after such an early start I am thoroughly exhausted and am very much in need of a bath, especially as I've got guests tonight.
To raise some lovely cash for Comic Relief I've spent the day walking around the Howard Estate in Bury St Edmunds for almost four and a half hours in steel toe-capped boots, lifting up the lids on the recycling bins and peeling off the old recycling stickers before slapping on the new ones, showing all the latest recycling guidelines.
I must have lifted up the lids on well over 500 recycling bins today. Although it feels like much more.
There were huge bins and slim ones, smelly ones and clean ones too. Such variety in both usage and contents. Even duvets had been stuffed in one particular bin. Now that was most definitely not on the list.
Anyway more on that another time. It's suffice to say it was a real fun day, with tales that I could probably never repeat.
But here are a few photos and videos of my very funny and surreal day.
Here's John the driver, loading up the bins onto the back of the wagon.
Did you know the loading mechanism automatically lifts the wheelie bin onto the back of the bin lorry! It's weight sensitive - which is why I stayed well away. There was no way I was going to chance my arm or indeed the rest of my body being lifted into there!
So here I am, keeping a very safe distance and dutifully sticking those stickers. Check out that fab Hi-Vis vest, which was kindly sent to me by the lovely people over at the Preston based charity Recycling Lives.
Peeling off some of the old stickers was not a very pleasant job.
Neither was lifting some of the bin lids.
Fortunately most of them were cleaner than this, but some had bird droppings and gunky stuff, having been stored underneath trees.
But I didn't have to do it all on my own. Here's Dan Sage, the Strategy & Policy Officer for St Edmundsbury Council, and who was the person behind last year's Zero Waste Week.
At one point the chaps (John and one of his colleagues, Scouse) disappeared through this gate into a garden. There I was thinking we were off for a cup of tea. It was still early in morning and I was in desperate need. But talk about wishful thinking. It emerged they were flats and they were just collecting the bins from the storage sheds. Oh well - I should have taken a flask.
Being a bit of a sociable old bird, the most odd thing about today was that there was hardly anyone around. Either folk were tucked up indoors or had gone off to work. Apart from a group of schoolkids dressed in Red Nose Day gear, the estate was deserted and I could have counted the people I saw on one hand.
But I did manage to catch up with a couple of folk and ask their opinions on the local recycling scheme. They are real supporters of the facilities we have and agreed to pose for the blog.
So here's a huge hello to Bury St Edmunds resident Bryan,
and to Mrs Dennis, who I also bumped into.
So after a brief chat, it was back to the bins.
But after being distracted, it's just a shame I lost the bin lorry. Serves me right I'd say.
So I just kept on sticking instead.
And finally it appeared.
But there was no rest for the wicked. So I kept on slapping on the stickers before finally catching up with Dan and going off to find the crew.
And it was good to hop into the cab and get a well-deserved rest.
Then we were off to the Transfer Station, a few miles away in Lackford, to drop off the load. For the crew, it was the second time today.
What a load of recycling eh. Just over 3 tonnes of it in fact!
Here's Tim who estimates the levels of contamination at the Transfer Station, before it gets sent to the Materials Reclamation Facility (MuRF) for sorting into bales of different recyclates.
It's impossible to root through everything at the transfer station, but it is here where any noticable contaminates - stuff that can't be recycled at the MuRF - get removed and transferred to the landfill pile.
And the landfill pile can be seen below, in bin bags over in the corner.
Before I left, the chaps at the Waste Transfer Station showed me their latest invention, which I thought should be patented for one of the big supermarkets.
Can you see what it is yet?
Methinks it's half shopping trolley half bin bag. Perfect for ripping off your packaging at the shop don't you think.
So, it was back to the yard and a big thank you to John the dustman - I mean Refuse Disposal Officer, for letting me ride on the bin lorry, ooops I mean wagon.
You see, I've even got to know the terminology.
And it was time to leave the yard and head off home.
I can really say it was an absolute privilege to see behind the scenes and witness what it must be like to work on the bins. And one thing's for sure, I'm going to be kinder to the bin men in future. They do a real grand job. I'll no longer lose my patience when stuck behind a bin lorry and I won't be chucking out all our paper at once. It certainly makes the recycling bins very heavy. These guys may be strong, but I'm sure they could still do with a break.
So thank you to St Edmundsbury Borough Council for putting up with my mad antics and to all you lovely people for sponsoring me. It's been great and I've noticed my Comic Relief fundraising page is already showing you've already donated an amazing £145. You are contributing to the most amazing appeal to help support those striken by poverty in the UK and abroad.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's been a real blast.
But would I do it again?
Hmmm...with my achey legs, I don't think so. Too much like hard work for a soft touch of blogger like me.