Not all heroes wear capes

Meet the heroes who work tirelessly to manage the waste we leave behind

Our People

May 8, 2020


Meet our true blue garbo heroes working tirelessly to provide an essential service.

Tags: Drivers

Meet our true blue garbo heroes working tirelessly to provide an essential service.

We’re paying tribute to our bin-credible garbos – the local heroes in Cleanaway blue who are helping make a sustainable future possible for businesses and communities across Australia. This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the men and women who work tirelessly to provide us an essential service.

How to get involved

1. Like/follow our channel @cleanawayAU on Facebook and Instagram and like, comment and share our driver appreciation posts on your social channels.
2. Share your driver stories, pictures or videos on your Facebook or Instagram page, tag @cleanawayAU and #NotAllHeroesWearCapes so we can see your post. We will then feature them on our social channels.
3. Private message us on Facebook and Instagram with your driver stories, pictures and videos and we’ll feature them on our social media and website.

Story ideas

Take a picture or video of your favourite driver (Remember to observe all safety precautions).

Take a picture or video of yourself or your child telling a driver story, saying “thank you” or just telling us why you love our trucks.

Draw a picture or write a letter and send us a picture of it. Be creative.

Here are just a few of the many stories we’ve received from the community. This page will be updated as new stories come in so check back often!

Your driver appreciation stories

Christiane from Freemantle shared a lovely picture of her daughter with a mini bin from our driver.

Our drivers going above and beyond to collect and deliver essential clinical waste bins.

Two year old Solomon and his best mate cheering on our driver.

Three-year-old TJ from Karratha overjoyed with his colouring activity dropped off by our driver

Driver Colin visits Flynn’s garbo-themed birthday party

Driver Mitchel Linke makes a surprise visit for little Harry’s fifth birthday party

Wentworth Shire Council saying thank you to all the hard working waste management staff in the area.

Driver Jean from Balwyn was gifted a drawing of a rubbish truck by little Archie and Jean was happy to return the favour!

Birthday treat for a three-year old truck fan while social distancing? No problem. Driver Allan Bennett and Supervisor Ash Warton dropped by little Arkady’s home in Geelong for a surprise treat.

Great job, Simon for going the extra mile! Read the full story of Driver Simon Abela’s incredible friendship with his mate Ben here:

Amazing scenes from Moreton Bay Regional Council where the Moreton Bay team rallied together to say thank you to the Cleanaway crew servicing the region. Drivers were presented with a certificate of appreciation from Councillor Mark Booth Div 2 MBRC, Cleanaway and the founder of Bin Isolation Group Danielle Askew.

Communications and Engagement Manager Michelle Mandl-Keating celebrates Mick ‘Clarky’ Clark, a well-loved collections garbo for NSW’s Container Deposit Scheme Return and Earn who’s approaching an incredible milestone of 20 years working with Cleanaway.

Garbo fan Joe gets a surprise from his best friend. Thanks @sarahpiening_ for sharing with us your story.

Driver Andrew took a few minutes out of his day to spend time with Harper and his mum Haidee in Melbourne.

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Harper from Victoria is a huge truck fan and often waits outside the house to catch a glimpse of our trucks, or watches YouTube videos of bins being emptied. When our driver Andrew stopped by, Harper was over the moon. Harper’s mum, Haidee said, “I just want to say a very big thank you to Andrew who dropped around and allowed my son to have all of his dreams come true. Harper has CLN2 which is a rare genetic disorder that is life limiting and comes with uncontrolled seizures. He had the biggest smile and I have some amazing memories to hold on to. He keeps looking over the pictures and videos that were taken with a huge smile.” Thanks Haidee for sharing your lovely story with us. #sustainablefuture

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Daryl visits our Morwell depot where he was shown the inside of a truck and how it works.


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Remember Darryl from Morwell who dressed up as a Cleanaway truck for Book Week this year? We invited him to our depot recently where Darryl took a close up look at our trucks and even had a go at the driver’s seat. Darryl’s mum Erica said he was absolutely thrilled about the experience, “Many thanks to all involved in making this happen for my boy! Tracey and all the lovely staff at the Morwell depot. There are kids that love garbage trucks, and then there is Darryl. Mark the truck driver stayed back after work just to put a smile on his face. It’s amazing what your company has done for him, and as an almost 6-year-old, all his dreams have come true. Forever grateful mum here.” Thanks Darryl, you made our day! #sustainablefuture #futurerecycler #ecochamp #garbagetrucks #garbo

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A high five for Mitch and Libby in Bayswater

Driver Garry rescues a little joey on the side of a road in New England.

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While on the way to a packaged hazardous waste collection in the New England area, Driver Garry Tait and Chemist Belinda Paton from our Technical and Environmental Services team spotted a little face on the side of the road – a little joey. Garry found a safe place to pull the truck over so they could check on him and found his leg looked damaged. Garry picked up the joey and after a little squirming it was quite happy to get some pats and be carried back to the truck. Garry bundled up the joey in his jumper and sat it on Belinda’s lap for the drive to Manilla to see the vet. Once they arrived, the nurse organised a cage with towels for Garry to place the joey in (and negotiate for his jumper back!) Well done Garry and Belinda for going above and beyond the call of duty #sustainablefuture

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Driver Rob organises a special treat for Jet in Melbourne.


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The Cleanaway team in Melbourne recently organised a special treat for Jet, a young waste truck enthusiast who missed out on our visit to his school. Operations Supervisor Ash Warton and Side Lift Driver Rob Brooks drove to Jet’s home in a side lift vehicle where Jet had a go at the coveted driver’s seat. After the visit, his mum Amber, said “I just wanted to say a really big ‘thank you’ again to Ash and Rob for making this happen for Jet, and taking time out from their busy day. Jet has been talking about it non stop and has not stopped playing with the special Cleanaway merchandise he was given. On the drive home he just kept saying how he just can’t wait to be a rubbish truck driver! I’m sure this isn’t the last you have seen of Jet.” #sustainablefuture #futurerecycler #futuregarbo

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Driver Sinead helps young Ivy overcome her fear of trucks in Geelong.


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The sight of a garbage truck used to terrify young Ivy from Geelong but we may have just won a new fan. It used to be a traumatic chain of events at Ivy’s house every time the garbage truck came to collect their bins. Dad Michael said, “Ivy would be in tears and screams, running as fast as her little legs would take her to avoid the noise, flashing lights and sight of the truck. This was the situation for some time now but when was escalating I thought, what can I do?” Michael decided to reach out to Cleanaway’s Geelong office. “I thought a visit to our local depot might do the trick, thinking it might be possible to casually swing by one morning, perhaps speak to one of your employees and illustrate to Ivy that garbage collection trucks are all perfectly safe and most definitely harmless. Cleanaway offered to come to us instead.” The Cleanaway team led by driver Sinead Nolan paid a visit to Ivy’s home where Ivy had a chance to sit in the passenger’s seat and learn all about what goes on in a collections truck. “Initially Ivy was pretty uncomfortable and didn’t really want to have anything of it but with Sinead’s assistance, friendliness and patience, my daughter’s whole mood began to change. Sinead explained and educated Ivy on all of the gadgets and processes involved in regular day to day bin collection. Later, Ivy was more than happy and content – she actually didn’t want to get out of the truck!” said Michael. “A huge thanks to Sinead, Ivy’s garbage truck driver friend and the team at Cleanaway. l’m sure like most industries, the majority of your customer feedback will be complaints, not positive like our experience so I thought l would take the time to write this email.” wrote Michael in an email to Cleanaway. Thanks Ivy and Michael for your incredible story. #sustainablefuture @elitefxpt

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The ‘truck bin man’ makes Bentley’s day in Narangba.

Driver Colin shows Footscray City Primary students how a rear lift truck works.

Driver Glen surprises Jacob from Morley for his birthday.

Driver Pat gives Ballam Park Primary students a close up look at our truck.

Thank you’s from our inbox

Recycling truck driver deserves a gold star

“On the morning of Friday 22May in Galvin St Altona, while I was walking home about 10.45am, the recycling bin truck was picking up yellow bins. I noticed some loose rubbish blown onto the road when a bin was emptying. The driver moved to the next bin and emptied it. Next, he reversed, got out of his truck, picked up the rubbish, and proceeded. The very next bin was blocked by both a roadworks sign at the kerb, and a parked car. The driver stopped a little further along, got out, shifted the bin to where it could be picked up, emptied it, and put it back outside its correct property.

I was so impressed to see a man taking pride in his work, and doing it conscientiously. Congratulations to that man. I hope he works in our street every time.

I would like you to pass on the appreciation of Galvin St residents. (There were at least 4 who watched with interest what would happen when the truck reached the “difficult” bin). Well done, that man!”


Leaving no rubbish behind in Hobson’s Bay

“This morning my green rubbish bin was collected from my street and I would like to thank the gentleman that was collecting the rubbish. Couple of bags had fallen on the floor out of the bin and my daughter noticed that he got out of the truck picked up the rubbish off the floor.


Stories from the field

There’s more to being a garbo than simply driving a truck. Some of our long-serving garbos share their stories on the road:

  1. Driver Trainer Jim Davidson’s remarkable journey across Queensland
  2. Meet a family of Cleanaway garbos
  3. Five decades with Alan Burke
  4. Meet Cleanaway’s sports hero: Baeden Choppy
  5. On the road with Anthony Berge
  6. An Ollie good day with Cleanaway

Resources for garbo fans

Check out some of the newest additions to our fleet and learn more about staying safe near our trucks:

  1. Bin placement and safety during COVID-19
  2. Business as usual with Cleanaway on the Central Coast
  3. Pedestrian safety around Cleanaway trucks
  4. On the road with our trucks
  5. Welcoming our electric collections fleet in WA
  6. Zero emissions electric collections fleet
  7. Check out Cleanaway split trucks

Got more garbo stories?

Message us on Facebook or Instagram to share your own stories and photos of Cleanaway garbos and we’ll feature them on this page.