When you think about it, rubbish bins are an essential part of life. Humans are consumers of products that create waste. Where would we be without our red bin, green waste, and recycling bins? We’d be neck deep in rubbish, ‘burning off’ or making regular runs to the tip!
It’s not a question one would often stop to ponder, but local teen Luca Holmes Siefken has been captivated by both the form and function of rubbish bins his whole young life.
Like many neurodivergent individuals, Luca has a ‘special interest’ – an overwhelming fascination with a particular hobby, topic or object. In his case, wheelie bins. While this focus might seem unusual, the specifications and purpose of bins, and the process associated with garbage sorting, collecting, and recycling, provides a reassuring sense of order for Luca.
I’ve known Luca affectionately as ‘Bin Boy’ since he was in preschool, but his obsession with bins predates this. His mum Kate says his first word was ‘ubba’ (garbage), and he began seeking, then collecting bin-related toys and objects from the age of two. Luca now has over 100 wheeled rubbish bins of different sizes and colours, which he has purchased online, been gifted or collected in his travels.
He is part of an online community of other bin enthusiasts worldwide, and even has his own YouTube channel. Of course, such a unique hobby and dedication to something so quirky has raised a few eyebrows and even neighbourly concerns. Rest assured, Luca is not interested in what’s in your bin, he simply finds the process of collecting, sorting and disposal of different types of refuse very satisfying to observe.
This uncommon interest has resulted in Luca being trolled on social media about his fascination with bins. Luca’s response to the critics was to turn his bin obsession into a business. Luca’s dad Pete has since purchased an operational second-hand garbage truck and obtained his heavy vehicle licence (mum will do the same), to do the driving until Luca can legally drive this class of vehicle. And Byron Bins was born.
“I’m not a businessperson that tries to advertise a lot but I like getting customers. My dream is to have a run in Bangalow where I can go around on the weekend picking up the extra the bins,” he says.
Using his surplus wheelie bin collection, Luca now offers excess rubbish collection, which is a godsend for those nights when you forget to put the bins out, or have had a few friends over and your yellow bin is a bit ‘noisy’. (by this Luca makes it’s full of empty bottles).
Luca’s interest in bins and rubbish collection often sees him riding his bike along behind the garbage truck on its morning run, taking great delight in the precision and mechanics of the truck in action as it lifts the bins from the street and tips the contents into the compactor. (I tell him my yellow bin is probably noisy. He says it is.)
Incorrect rubbish sorting is a bother to Luca (and me!) as he feels that the extra effort of sorting waste correctly is worth it for the sake of both the green waste bin program and the success of efficient recycling. “Your pizza box can go in the green bin, but putting a pizza box in red is not good. If it’s got absolutely no grease at all, not even one drop, then it can go in the yellow bin. But that doesn’t happen with pizza.”
Luca seems delighted when I tell him the story of me at a street party, tilting my neighbour’s green bin up and going in headfirst to retrieve a plastic tub of hummus someone had carelessly tossed in there. Yes, I’m a bit weird, yes, there were witnesses, but that’s how committed I am.
Granted, bin-diving is not for everyone, but there are some simple tips we should all remember for getting home recycling right.
“Rinse out your bottle. Absolutely no food in the yellow bin. The three main yellow bin rules are no food, no liquid, no oils. Also, no bottle caps and nothing smaller than a credit card,” he says.
Unsurprisingly, Luca’s current ambition is to become a garbologist. His commitment to keeping things clean and ordered on our messy, rubbish-filled planet is an asset to our community, and the world.
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