“The heart and soul of Cleanaway are our operational teams. People who get up earlier than most every single morning, arrive at site or climb into a truck, and set out to service as many of our customers as we can reach in a single day.”
I’m attending a lot of meetings at the moment, discussing business continuity plans and providing updates to our stakeholders, and I have been reflecting on what a difficult start to the year it has been. It was just weeks ago that I was receiving daily updates on the impact to our teams in fire affected areas in NSW and Victoria, and now we’re discussing how to protect our people and our business from COVID-19.
One thing that has been consistent throughout both these challenges has been the unwavering commitment from our people to keep delivering essential waste services. The safe and healthy functioning of our society replies on essential services like water, energy and waste. Without these services we create even greater risk for the health of individuals and the spread of disease.
As the leader of a waste company, I take this responsibility very seriously. We’re currently working closely with state governments to develop management plans, and with local governments and customers to ensure volumes are cleared efficiently.
What I know is that at the heart and soul of Cleanaway are our operational teams. People who get up earlier than most every single morning, arrive at the depot or climb into a truck, and set out to service as many of our customers as we can reach in a single day.
One customer has seen a 27% increase in cardboard collections to manage the stock movement through their stores. The mobilisation from our teams has been nothing short of amazing with drivers working extra hours to clear the increased waste so that stores can restock to provide food and supplies for communities.
In January and February when the bushfires were at their height, I was hearing of the extraordinary lengths our teams were going to maintain essential waste collections. During an emergency supermarket clearance, trying to remove spoiled and damaged food so that the store could be restocked, three trucks were caught in a road closure and the drivers spent the night on the side of the road. We also had people who left their homes which were endangered by fire so that they could collect waste from evacuation centres, while others stayed away from home to be able to help out.
The waste and recycling industry is an interesting space at the moment with movement towards the circular economy, energy-from-waste and renewed focus on the quality of recycling. We will continue to progress our plans to provide the right infrastructure to provide these solutions. But at the foundation of it all is the safe and reliable collection of material.
Our teams will continue to provide that essential service to the community and I’m proud of the true blue spirit we’ve shown, and will continue to show, during these changing times.
Learn more about Cleanaway’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan and how we’re maintaining our essential services safely and sustainably.