“Seeing the oldies returning their few containers and having them tell me ‘that’s paid for my loaf of bread and my milk today’. That feels really good right now.”
By Michelle Mandl-Keating Communications and Engagement Manager
I have worked alongside Cleanaway drivers in support roles for nearly 15 years and there are many drivers and operators whose dedication to the community is obvious in all my interactions with them.
One such driver is Mick Clark, or better known to his peers as, “Clarky”. Mick has a heart of gold, a sense of joy about his role and duty as a driver for Cleanaway and he is one of my many favourite drivers.
Always ready with a welcome smile and a greeting of “Hello Shelly!” from a vast distance away, Mick clearly loves his job and brings joy to everyone he meets.
Mick is about to celebrate a significant milestone of 20 years of service with Cleanaway. In this time, Mick has worked at the Blacktown Sydney Municipal Branch as a Driver Leading Hand for Parramatta City Council. In late 2017, Mick transferred to a new collections branch, CDS (Container Deposit Scheme) Metro – based at the same Blacktown location, but focussed on collecting recyclable containers from Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) for the NSW Return and Earn scheme.
Mick is a lightweight collections driver, meaning he collects from the ‘Plastics, Cartons and Cans’ side of the RVMs. Covering a collection run means that Mick needs to temporarily stop visitors from using the RVM.
Calling out to visitors in a booming voice, “Won’t be long mate, just need to empty the bins!”, Mick shuffles the bins out of the rear of the RVM and carefully loads them into his rear load truck. When Mick completes his collections, he calls out, “You’re back on mate, all good!”
After completing his collections, Mick moves to the rear of the RVM and checks the glass lines to swap bins over. Due to social distancing measures, RVMs currently have one glass line closed. Mick is sure to help visitors access the glass lines while he’s there. “Every bit helps.” says Mick.
Mick takes absolute pride in his truck and its presentation – a familiar theme with all Cleanaway drivers! The truck is their office, and if you are able to glimpse at the insides of a truck, you’re a chosen one!
When I asked Mick about what he appreciates about his job, he said he loves the fact that the Container Deposit Scheme is helping so many people. “Seeing the oldies returning their few containers and having them tell me ‘that’s paid for my loaf of bread and my milk today’. That feels really good right now.”
Thanks Mick for all that you do. You’re an absolute legend.
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NSW’s container deposit scheme, Return and Earn, has collected more than 3.5 billion containers since the scheme began in December 2017 through the TOMRA Cleanaway joint venture. For more information about Return and Earn, visit NSW EPA’s Return and Earn site and social channels.
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