Public sector waste

2 min read

Upon returning home one day from a walk with his two dogs, the engineering sales representative was surprised to see a young man sorting through the rubbish in the wheelie bin outside his property.

Afraid that the individual in question might be attempting to perform some sort of identity theft through his rather peculiar actions, the sales representative immediately accosted the young man and asked him to explain his actions.

The young man duly handed our salesman a small card identifying himself as a member of the environment agency and explained to him that he was conducting a survey to examine the sorts of waste being disposed of by households in the area.

The salesman was infuriated by the intrusion upon his privacy and, in a fit of rage, he threw the agency worker’s identity card across the street and threatened to set his large dogs loose on him if he ever showed his face in the neighbourhood again.

It was a dirty job, that was for sure. The environment agency worker was met with the same sort of attitude from householders wherever he went, and so too were his colleagues. It seemed as if no-one liked them snooping around their rubbish bins to discover what was inside.

Fortunately for the salesman and many other householders like him, when a new government came into power, they realised that the salaries of the hundreds of waste disposal analysis executives were also a total waste of public money and quickly sent them all to the end of the unemployment line.

But while the government ministers were thrilled by the large savings that they had made eliminating the salaries of the environmental personnel, they were also keen not to upset the many environmentalists that had voted for them. Especially the ones who had proposed the very same waste analysis in an attempt to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill.

Bearing that fact in mind, the government decided to fund the development of an inexpensive automated waste analysis system that could be easily retrofitted to the back of waste collection vehicles to perform the function that had once been performed manually.

Of course, only one of the systems was ever built, and while its construction and testing did provide a few years’ work for some academics and their industrial partners, its only real function was to appease the environmental lobby. Eventually, of course, it proved as redundant as the manual workers.

Nevertheless, the image of the government in the eyes of the environmentalists remained untarnished through its rather astute actions. So much so that some members of the government are now creating similar programmes to enhance their green credentials further, throwing small sums of money here and there to prove the effectiveness of electric cars that neither our friend the engineering sales representative nor anyone else has the slightest intention of buying.

Dave Wilson
Editor, Engineeringtalk

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