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Big up the bin man!

24 February 2011

Being a ‘bin man’ hasn’t traditionally been perceived as a great job, but I think it’s time for a rethink. And it seems I’m not the only one.

There was a really interesting report produced late last year by a think tank called the new economics foundation which took six professions from across the public and private sectors and calculated the value they contributed to society compared to the amount they got paid.

Waste recycling workers came out on top, creating a whopping £12 of value for every £1 they are paid. They were compared against a variety of other jobs, including advertising executives and high-earning City bankers. City bankers, in particular, didn’t stack up too well. Apparently, they destroy £7 of social value for every £1 they earn!

Predictably, the press that covered the report focused on the negative side of the report – namely how much City bankers destroy value, which, given the current public image of bankers, no doubt sold more papers. But it’s such a depressing spin.

Why not look at the positive side of the report? That the role of the modern day ‘bin man’ is actually pretty valuable to society. If a job is contributing to our social and environmental welfare, then society should recognise that – champion it even – and reports like this one should provide the perfect opportunity to do so. I, like many of the country, am a little bit bored about reading about how big bankers’ bonuses are and how they ruined our country.

Let’s big up the bin man!

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