Waste Clearance

Having been inspired by rubbish, or one of the modern marks of man in the world for a majority of my practice, I decided it was time to try and nunderstand this obsession.

I reached out to many local (council run) tips in London, and was met by quite a unilateral response from them all which ran along the rough lines of: “No.”

Not wanting to give up so soon, I started to think up other means of going about getting access to the locations.

I blanket emailed London based house/rubbish clearance companies with the request of my project, to much the same response as the council run tips, bar one friendly company.

And so I found myself on the way to a day out with a house clearance person, at last, access to a subject so close to my heart! We met near Shoreditch and I jumped in the van, conversation started as frosty as the November morning we were jumped into the cab to avoid; however, we found a common point quite fast in growing up near/working in the city of Swindon in the South West. I also took a quick fascination in how every element of his working day was being tracked digitally. Either by a black box in the front of the cab monitoring to see how long they stayed in one spot for, or by the constant photographic updates they were required to share back with the head office.

Load emptied from the back of the van, a moment of calm is disovered over lunch – revealing of this generation how even in the waste clearance persons hour of lunch, a moment they will be seeking to escape the waste; it is nigh impossible to get away from the waste this world of consumption creates.

This calm is short lived however, with a house restorations gutted innards needing to be emptied within the hour. The diversity of jobs and their resulting waste output is quite shocking, especially when you consider that it all ends up in the same place. The amount of valuable and useable material that was being thrown away was a surprise too,

By the final rubbish drop of the day the light had waned. Already otherworldly piles of rubbish in the warehouses had taken on an even more surreal light, a thin misty haze of water in the air as well to try and control the dust levels from the piles of waste, as well as to try and prevent ignition of anything in the building.