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A Day in the Life of a Biffa Driver

A day in the life of… a Biffa driver!

Posted in Services
On 26 Jun 2017
By Fran Tansley

Lincoln Blake is not your ordinary man. He’s an infamous character within Biffa, and has a laugh to rival Frank Bruno. Everyone who meets Lincoln has something nice to say about him, and especially our customers, who he entertains as he collects a variety of waste from businesses around Warwickshire.

We interviewed Lincoln to find out what it’s like to be a Biffa driver, and there certainly is more to it than meets the eye!

So Lincoln, tell us a little about yourself.
Well as you know my name is Lincoln, I’m 51 and live in Redditch, Worcestershire. I’ve been working as a driver at the Biffa Warwick depot for 5 years now and drive all over the Midlands every day.

What time does your day start?
I wake up at 3.45am, which wouldn’t suit most people, but I’m so used to waking up at that time I don’t even use an alarm anymore! I have to be at the depot at 5am, to begin my safety checks before I can begin collecting waste.

What do you have to do before you can leave the depot in your truck?
We have very rigorous safety checks and I have to run through them every morning without fail, which takes around 30 minutes.

How many miles do you cover every day?
It obviously changes based on what kind of waste I’m collecting or the area I’m collecting in, but I’d say on average it’s around 150 miles a day.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I really enjoy the freedom of my job. It’s nice to be on the road and have time to yourself, peace and quiet away from the children! Also, my customers are absolutely lovely and are always offering me cakes, sandwiches and hot drinks when I stop to collect their waste. It’s great to get to know your customers well and know that they really appreciate the service you provide for them.

And what would you say is the worst thing about your job?
It might sound cheesy but I really love my job. I have my moments like everyone else when I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, but generally I like everything about it. If I had to say something, I’d say the way my wife insists I strip down, so she can wash my uniform as soon as I come back from work every afternoon. She’s really paranoid that I might smell! Most of the time I don’t, though.

Do you think you that you take recycling at home more seriously because of the job you do?
I’m a stickler for our recycling at home and it drives my children mad! I make the whole family segregate everything and we have recycling bins in different rooms throughout the house. I think it’s because I understand where the waste will go if it’s not recycled, and also the amazing things that can be done with waste once it is recycled. If everyone recycled just one thing more in their home every week it would make a huge difference.

As you’ve probably seen, we recently ran a safety campaign about people driving their cars dangerously around waste trucks. Have you had any personal experience of this since you’ve been with Biffa?
Unfortunately it happens every day to me and it’s really frightening. It happened to me this morning in fact. I think it’s because the driver is impatient to get around our truck and doesn’t think about how dangerous it is. I’ve had so many occasions where I’ve nearly been hit by a car, been sandwiched in between my car and the truck, or had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit.

I think if I could say one thing to drivers, it would be that I understand it’s frustrating waiting for a chance to pass a waste truck, but a little patience could stop someone from being seriously injured or killed. And I don’t know about you, but I think that’s definitely worth adding an extra minute or two onto your journey.

What would you say is the highlight of your job so far?
One of my highlights is when I won Biffa’s ‘Employee of the Year’ award in 2015. It made me feel so good that I had been recognised for my work and that the job that I do is appreciated. It was also great getting to meet lots of different people from around the business at the awards ceremony. I’m glad they didn’t want me to do a speech!

It’s also great when you receive emails from your customers saying they really appreciate the extra effort you’ve made on a particular day or how pleased they are with my service. It’s a lovely reward at the end of a long day.

And finally, Lincoln, what is the strangest or funniest thing that has happened to you whilst out on one of your collection rounds?
I have to say, when you’re driving around the county every day you see all kinds of crazy things and I always have a story to tell when I go home every evening.

Picking one, though, I’d say it was last year in Nuneaton. I was collecting two bins from a business in the town. A lady had stopped to talk to me whilst I was emptying the second bin. When I was looking away to load the bin onto the vehicle, I heard screaming, I turned round and the lady was rolling around on the floor with a rat on her chest!

The rat had jumped from the bin onto the chest of this woman, and as it tried to escape, it jumped at the wall beside her, head-butted it and knocked itself out!

I have never, in all of my life, seen anything as funny as that. It was like something out of a film, and when I tell people about it they don’t believe me, but it really did happen!

It sounds like something from a Chevy Chase film! Well thank you so much for your time, Lincoln, and for sharing your experiences of being a Biffa driver with us.

About the author

image of fran tansley

Fran Tansley

Fran is Head of Digital here at Biffa. She's particularly passionate about our safety initiatives, so keep a look out for her updates on these campaigns.