13 June 2020
Truly Rubbish Podcasts and TV Programmes
Read Time: 4 mins
There are an almost infinite number of magazines, websites and blogs that go into intricate detail about what constitutes the Top 5 greatest television programmes of all time. However, here at Clearabee we like to do things a little differently. So instead of discussing that dysfunctional mafia family or that battle for an uncomfortable throne, we’re going straight into some really rubbish tv programmes, as well as a podcast or radio programme too.
Whether it’s following a typical day in the life of Britain’s refuse collectors, the profitable world behind plastic pollution or delving into the properties of people’s poo, these programmes are a truly eye-opening look into the world of waste. First up…
Truly Rubbish Television
Broken: “Recycling Sham”
Broken focuses mainly on influencer hype and scarcity marketing, but the fourth episode of the series, “Recycling Sham”, looks at the plastic pandemic which is flooding the Earth’s oceans and damaging developing countries.
Instead of waving an environmentally-friendly flag, “Recycling Sham” highlights the history of plastic manufacturing, including the moment that ownership of recycling was passed on from the companies to the consumer, via the famous 1971 native American advert, often known as “The Crying Indian”.
The show gives viewers a diagnosis of the current recycling situation, but fails to offer any real solutions to the problems. The story of Laredo’s plastic shopping bag ban getting overturned in Texas, the rising cases of micro-plastic poison and facts such as “only 9% of all the plastic ever produced has actually been recycled” serve to shock the viewer but do little to point them towards action.
Regardless, “Recycling Sham” is sure to keep you watching, and open mouthed throughout.
Broken is available to stream now on Netflix.
Truly Rubbish Radio
File on 4: “Criminal Waste”
As a radio documentary, “Criminal Waste” is an eye-opening investigation into the more sinister side of waste disposal. This episode focuses on the story of Ed Ford, a “frontier farmer” who got caught up in the criminal underworld after discovering a gang of fly-tippers, who in-turn spotted him and chased him down.
The report uncovers how waste management has been criminally monetised by taking advantages of legislative loopholes to set up illegitimate business and illegal tipping sites. More horrifying still, is the human trafficking systems which supply criminal gangs with the manual labour to pick and organise the profitable rubbish from the waste.
It’s a difficult listen in places, but a harsh reminder to exercise due diligence when booking your rubbish removal.
Other interesting rubbish-related entries in the series are “A Load of Rubbish” which highlights failings in the recycling industry and “Fuelling the Future” which questions Britain’s green energy strategy.
File on 4: “Criminal Waste” is available via the BBC iPlayer.
Truly Rubbish Television
Grime and Punishment: Dirty Britain
Sensationalised and light in tone, the pun-tastic Grime and Punishment is an observational series which follows a day in the life of those on the frontline of the war on grime: there’s the Environmental Health Officer who discovers bin bags full of waste in a rat-infested, out-building behind a pub kitchen; there’s the team of Sewer System & Drain Cleaning Technicians, wading through the wet wipes and the greasy build-up of a fledgling fatberg.
Most inspiring though, is the duo of fly tipping detectives, who sift through the sea of rubbish on the hunt for clues to help catch the guilty parties. They also provide a hefty helping of the comic relief, which seems essential for this sort of work, especially when sitting on an eight-hour stake-out in a bid to catch the criminals.
Light entertainment, it may be, but there are plenty of life lessons in here. The main one being, don’t just go for the cheapest rubbish removal option. Especially if you’ve left your unshredded name and address in with the waste. Here’s betting the fly tipping detectives aren’t quite so funny then.
Grime and Punishment: “Dirty Britain” is available to stream on Channel 5’s My5 on-demand platform.
Truly Rubbish Podcasts
People Fixing the World: “The Treasure in our Toilets”
Podcasts have been all the rage for a fair few years now and there’s a wealth of information waiting out there for you to digest via your devices. “The Treasure in our Toilets” explores the concept of nutrient recovery, which in this case combats the increasing lack of the planet’s phosphorous. The element is essential for bone and teeth development in humans, as well as creating life when it’s farmed for fertiliser.
But where does the waste come in? Because it’s found in our pee-pee, people. From the initial discovery of the element 350 years ago, to how human sludge can be used to create electricity and to resurface roads, the podcast keeps the tone humorous and highly engaging.
Each episode is roughly 24 minutes long and in-depth enough to keep you interested but not pitched at a level which will overwhelm you with science.
Other notable episodes include “Electricity that grows on trees” which explores the electric current in water, leaves and rocks and “How to move the Earth” which investigates how to put some distance between us and the sun.
People Fixing the World: “The Treasure in our Toilets” is available on the BBC Sounds app and via BBC World Service.
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