Aussies saddened as Christmas bin tradition becomes 'thing of the past'

People recall their parents and grandparents leaving beers out for their garbos but now the 'sad' reality has set in.

Australians are lamenting the end of a long-standing Christmas bin tradition intended to spread joy, but one garbage collector says some households are still continuing the kind gesture despite health and safety concerns.

According to industry representatives, the Australian tradition of leaving a six-pack of beer out for our garbos who work tirelessly in the lead-up to Christmas is now "a thing of the past". But those on the frontline say it hasn't disappeared entirely with one garbage collector telling Yahoo News they still receive the occasional beer from generous households.

The Aussie tradition of leaving beers out for the garbos
The Aussie tradition of leaving beers out for the garbos "is a thing of the past" experts are saying. Source: Facebook.

Aussie tradition disappearing

Sparking the debate this week, one Australian resident took to social media to question what happened to the age-old tradition. "I’ve been doing this for 20 years, only the last two years they don’t seem interested. Is this a tradition we are losing? Does anyone else do this at Xmas?" they asked on Reddit.

"I get up super early to make sure it’s on the bin and not warm, but seriously if they don’t want the VB this year, I’m sad to say that this tradition will now be over. My parents did it, my grandparents and so on. It’s kinda sad. I have always left a six-pack VB for each bin (so 12 all up). I don’t know if it’s Covid, or VB is not what they want, but they’re not having it," they wrote.

Health and safety concerns raised

Many in the comments pointed to the fact many councils around the country don't allow the move, while others said the idea may be perceived as some kind of bribe.

Addressing the dwindling tradition, Tony Roderick from Veolia, one of Australia's largest waste management companies, said it's probably no longer wise to leave beers out for your local bin collectors.

"Sadly, the tradition of giving your garbo a Christmas beer is now a thing of the past," Roderick told Yahoo News.

"Packages of beer become missiles in the cabin of the truck under emergency braking," he said. "Emergency braking happens more often than you expect when someone is running to put out a bin at dawn, or unexpectedly opening a car door on a narrow street. In addition, like many others in our business, we have a company-wide dry workplace policy."

One Aussie has said the move had been a tradition for generations. Source: Facebook.
One Aussie has said the move had been a tradition for generations. Source: Facebook.

Garbo says he still gets and accepts beer gifts

Speaking anonymously to Yahoo News Australia, one NSW garbo said the practice still does occur in some areas and it's "really appreciated".

"I genuinely accept beers all the time — it’s not allowed but people still do it," he said. "Especially the oldies. It’s really appreciated because you remember those houses, and are willing to take extras here and there from them. It’s very much I scratch your back you scratch mine" situation.

"Usually closer to Christmas time people try to be generous, especially if it’s a specific truck that’s been doing the same area a long time."

The Transport Workers' Union (TWU), which represents those in the indusry, says councils banning gifts to garbos is "not the spirit of Christmas".

"We see no reason why the community shouldn’t be allowed to acknowledge the work that essential waste workers do for all of us, especially during the holidays," TWU NSW/QLD State Secretary Richard Olsen told Yahoo. "Laws already exist around drinking and driving, and no one was suggesting that they should drink on the job."

Other ways to show your appreciation

Roderick said residents can still leave gifts for their garbo. "Should people want to leave a small gift for their local driver it is possible to leave it at the local depot where the driver can collect it at the end of shift," he said.

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