Winter won’t stop Russell enjoying the outdoor life collecting waste and recycling…

Meet Russell Girard who drives one of our new "green" trade waste lorries

Published: Friday, 6th December 2019

When Russell Girard is getting out of bed long before first light on a cold winter morning to collect waste and recycling from north Oxfordshire’s local business he at least does so in the knowledge that his work is highly rated by local residents and businesses – and is now able to look forward each day to driving brand new environmentally friendly vehicles.

When Cherwell District Council conducted its annual satisfaction survey of residents earlier this year the feedback was clear that our bin and recycling collection service is among the most highly valued.

Russell has recently been driving new “green” vehicles as he and his colleagues make anywhere between 60 to 70 local business each day to pick up their materials to be taken for recycling or waste that needs to be disposed of.

Bicester resident Russell, 24, joined the council in Spring 2018 and the winter conditions that are ahead of us in coming months don’t put him off his job.

He said: “You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. I’ve never wanted to work in an office. Working outdoors suits me just fine. That’s great in summer but we make the most of winter as well when the conditions aren’t quite as good.

“We have very busy days travelling throughout the district of Cherwell. There’s more variety in doing the business waste collections than the normal bin collections from people’s homes. We cater for many different types of business – offices, catering companies, charities and schools included.

“At some of the places we may never see the people to whom we are providing the service. However at some of the businesses we see the staff quite often and occasionally they’ll make us a cup of tea, which is very welcome in winter. We know that ourselves and the bin collectors for homes are among the services that people immediately identify Cherwell District Council with.

“The new vehicles are a lot smoother to drive as well as being environmentally friendly. They’re brand new and they have that ‘new’ smell that people will be familiar with from when they’ve bought a new car.”

Cherwell District Council’s new business waste vehicles have Euro VI engines with the lowest possible emissions to minimise impact on air quality. As regards nitrogen dioxides (NOx), which can be harmful to human health, the reduction is 80% compared to the Euro V vehicles which existed prior to 2013.
The vehicles have a number of technologies installed such as vehicle tracking and driver monitoring to ensure that not only are the most efficient routes followed but that driver performance is monitored so that the lorries are driven in a fuel efficient manner. These technologies make sure fuel and emissions are minimised by assisting smooth driving without the engine being left idling.

Russell added: “We get a report back on how good our driving has been. That means the vehicles aren’t just good for the environment - they also get us in to good driving habits.”

“I enjoy the business waste run because it provides new challenges all the time. New businesses can join our round. They may be a type of business we’ve never dealt with before and they all need their own specific approach. We are always ready to help customers with their questions about recycling or any issue with business waste that they may have. You need to think on your feet. It’s challenging but interesting.”   

Cherwell District Council set up its Business Waste Team in 2016 to provide a tailored service to these customers – and it has gradually become ever more successful. The service helps business fully comply with the law but also helps improve their green credentials to present to their own customers.