CELEBRATE: Lismore City Council mayor Isaac Smith with Lismore recycling and waste worker Raymond.
CELEBRATE: Lismore City Council mayor Isaac Smith with Lismore recycling and waste worker Raymond.

30,000 bins every week: Lismore’s ’invaluable’ workers

THEY may normally go unnoticed.

But this week, Lismore’s waste and recycling workers have been at the forefront as part of Waste and Recycling Workers Week.

Lismore City Council created the week to ensure the men and women who collect, deposit and process Lismore’s recycling and waste get the recognition they deserve.

The waste and recycling team collects more than 30,000 bins each week which Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith said was invaluable work.

“I would like to than our team who are the quiet achievers going about every week collecting our waste to keep our streets clean and our city looking beautiful,” Cr Smith said.

The recognition comes as waste and recycling workers have been on the frontline despite the occurrence of bushfires and a global pandemic.

“I would particularly like to thank them for their dedication to our community during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when they faced some particular issues,” Cr Smith said.

HAPPY 11TH BIRTHDAY GEORGE George is a young Lismore boy with autism. All he wants to do when he grows up is work for...

Posted by Lismore City Council on Monday, 20 April 2020

General manager of Lismore Recycling and Waste Centre, Andy Irvine, said that he was thoroughly impressed by the team of workers during tough times.

“We hear about frontline workers all the time but we never hear about these guys, if they don’t show up and do what they do, the town would be a very different place so their role is very understated,” he said.

Mr Irvine said it was understated the amount of risk the workers faced during the height of the pandemic.

“When COVID-19 started and everybody was very frightened, it was how long does germs last on something and they’re on everything you touch … everything that we’re dealing with has the potential to be contaminated so we had to scramble and change all our operating procedures,” he said.

“It’s all well to say wear a mask when you’re in a nice environment but it’s really difficult when it’s hot and you’ve got to wear all those other things like respirators.”

The workers do a lot in the community, such as organising this event for a local Goonellabah boy with autism, Mr Irvine said community service was a focus for the workers.

“There was a very deliberate discussion (by the workers) that they had to be there and serve the community … it came through very strongly and it was very impressive,” Mr Irvine said.