Waste management is one of the least considered but most essential of public services. Most of us take for granted the fact that we can take out our rubbish and at some point in the near future the bins will be emptied. Even the arrival of the age of recycling and the requirement of sorting refuse into different bins has done little to alter this.
This vital public service of waste collection and waste management needs a skilled and engaged workforce: in strategic decision making, enforcement, through local authorities and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, service delivery and in educational/ awareness-raising work. UNISON members in local government and across public services perform a range of these waste management roles. This report focuses on those working in local government.
Through a mixture of survey and interview we spoke to UNISON members working in waste management asking them a series of questions about their working lives, how their jobs had changed in recent years and what they felt were likely developments. UNISON has members working at every level in waste management. This study contains views from refuse loaders to senior area waste managers.