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Monday 9th August 2021

It all started on a slightly murky day at 8am in Holborn where I met my driver Rob and his state-of-the-art electric RCV truck. It’s hard to say who I was more captivated by.

Rob is a local legend at Recorra. With 12 years’ experience under his (seat-)belt, this man knows his way around all the roadworks, one-way systems and traffic London has to offer.

On the other hand, I was astonished by both the size and quietness of the electric RCV. This vehicle paves the way for the decarbonisation of Recorra’s fleet, as we transit to 100% electric powered trucks. This is a significant step for a waste and recycling business, as traditionally our fleet is one of our largest contributors to our carbon footprint. Electrifying our vehicles is our 6th #SustainABLEpathway commitment to achieve real carbon reductions and net zero - which you can read more about here.

Introducing our electric RCV

After jumping into the passenger seat, Rob debriefed me on our collection route around the City of London. This needed to be logical and bespoke, to avoid the rush hour traffic hotspots and optimise our efficiency.

Before I had fully prepared myself, we were off on our glorious waste management adventure. This was my first time in an RCV, let alone any truck. However, my anxiety was alleviated by Rob’s careful navigation and constant awareness of cyclists, pedestrians, and other vehicles. I cannot drive, so when Rob jokingly offered that I should take the wheel when he got tired, a bead of sweat trickled down my face.

At every collection job, Rob jumped out of the truck and located the bins before I had even managed to open the vehicle door. Then, he attached them to the rear of the vehicle and pressed a button to initiate the mechanical lifting and decanting of the bins. Following this, he returned the empty containers and jumped back into the driver’s seat. One thing I hugely underestimated was how fast paced this job is and the sheer amount of energy and strength required. After the first hour, I was already exhausted and was yearning for my regular tea and toilet breaks, but Rob ventured on until all our collections had been made.

Our paper, cans and plastic containers bin

Recorra organises a day with a driver for all their new office employees, so that they can truly understand the core service they offer customers. It is a great incentive, which sheds light on the reality of waste collection and its key workers which is so easily forgotten. Waste management should be front and centre as it plays a huge part in unlocking a more sustainable future for everyone. Recorra is at the forefront of this with our electric fleet, innovative new services and social impact.

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Hattie Lindsey

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