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Women on waste-disposal vehicles? “Why not? There is no reason for it, only biases that have long since been shown to be unfounded,“ says Dieter Opara, REMONDIS branch manager in Hanover. He hired the first female driver for a collection lorry in Lower Saxony in 2015, followed by the first loader in northern Germany in 2016. With this first in Germany, the company has gained excellent experience. Lisa Niechciol (22) working as loader has not infrequently been accompanied by citizens gazing on in disbelief.
In rain or shine, when the self-assured young lady is collecting yellow bags on nimble feet and a spring in her step together with her male colleagues in surrounding municipalities in the region of Hanover, car-drivers gaze on with a smile on their face, reports Matthias Rütz (34), who has been riding on the running board for a year now. People perceive a bit more consciously the work performed by the seasoned team. Lisa is performing valuable pioneering work, as many women still hesitate when it comes to practical work in the world of the recycling economy. By the same token, there is scarcely any profession in which everyday work and the desire for more environmental and climate protection can harmonise with one another so well. “I think it‘s great to be able to work outside in the fresh air,“ says this almost delicate woman, who can hold her own.
Lisa works quickly and reliably, something which is not always to be taken for granted with male colleagues. She did not have any fear of contact with the recycling economy right from the start. Her boyfriend, who also works in the sector, gave her the idea to hire on at REMONDIS. Lisa had undergone occupational training as a saleswoman. She does not want to go back to that profession. As loader, Lisa walks up to 20 kilometres per day, gathering between three and seven tons of light packaging in yellow bags. Every year the branch collects up to 1,600 tonnes of waste that can be sorted. This is a crucial basis for the recycling economy. The loader can proudly note in her curriculum vitae that she contributes to climate protection by saving considerable quantities of CO2 and resources. “And I don‘t have to go to a fitness club after work,“ says Lisa, striding off again to snatch five bags at a time and tossing them energetically into the vehicle. Every toss makes a concrete contribution to more sustainability.
Rainer Fredermann (CDU), delegate to the Landtag for Langenhagen, and Lisa Niechciol collecting light packaging
She goes about her job, street by street, routinely answering queries by passers-by as to whether the work is not difficult for a woman or not, saying “no, it‘s fun,“ thereby generating confusion at times, but sometimes encouraging respect. Rainer Fredermann (CDU), a member of the State Parliament, has also voiced his admiration. The delegate to the Lower Saxony Landtag from Langenhagen electoral district slipped into the role of loader for one day last summer, collecting yellow bags together with Lisa. “As a delegate to the regional parliament, I have been a member of the Waste Committee for the Hanover region for many years and help shape the future of waste policy. It helps to know what you are talking about,“ says Fredermann, adding: “I think it is great to have a woman as loader!“
REMONDIS supports the women’s quota and welcomes every application it receives from women. The company offers a wide range of jobs and apprenticeships in the recycling sector besides those for truck drivers and waste loaders. Find out more at remondis-karriere.de (German only)