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The Secret Life of Rubbish

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Series 1-Episode 2

Series 1-Episode 2

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The charm of this social history of detritus is not that it unearths the key players of the 70s and 80s who revolutionised the way we deal with waste, but that it also gives a voice to the humble worker.

So here’s Steve Jones, who went from being a kid obsessed with the dustcart to a binman who’d always take the opportunity while on holiday to cadge a few shifts with the local crews; and Margaret Thatcher’s old dustman who recalls the snowstorm that almost stopped the newly privatised service from collecting her bins. But at heart this is a salutary tale of a wasteful consumer society constantly on the verge of being engulfed by rubbish.


The programme charting the evolution of waste collection in Britain concludes with a look at how the privatisation of public services and recycling revolutionised the population's perception of rubbish during the 1970s and 1980s. Ian Ross, a former binman who made millions by taking over the refuse contract from a council tells his story, while Ron England explains how he set up the world's first bottle bank in a supermarket's car park in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Cast & Crew

Director Chris Durlacher
Executive Producer Emma Hindley
Producer Chris Durlacher

Education Documentary

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