Meet The Locals: Les Haddad From Cheapest Load Of Rubbish

April 8th, 2022 - by Brad Gillespie

We don’t tend to think about rubbish and old junk around the house until it comes to selling or moving house.

It can end up being quite a big job, which is why I always recommend calling in the experts. But where does all the rubbish go? I caught up with Les Haddad, Director of Cheapest Load of Rubbish, for a chat about recycling, repurposing and where our unwanted items end up, and it’s much more interesting than you may think...

Hi Les, thanks for chatting today. How did you get started in the rubbish business?

Back in 1997 I was studying construction. When I got my first truck someone asked if I could pick up a load of rubbish and it all started from there. Soon after I met my business partner Robert Younan and we sort of merged. The rest, as they say, is history. We have a whole fleet of trucks now and remove furniture, household items, white goods, construction and demolition material, general waste, green waste and recyclables.

My goal from the beginning was to work super hard and I soon discovered I had a passion for the waste industry. I love the recycling side of things – we recycle everything from concrete, to plastics, metals, cardboard and timber.

So what we call waste doesn’t actually need to be wasted, a lot of things can get repurposed or recycled?

Exactly! Our target is to recycle up to 80% of the rubbish we collect. When we arrive at a site we go through everything to see what is recyclable, and what can be reused or repurposed. Where possible, we re-house furniture items so that everything is given a second life.

Rubbish is hand loaded onto the truck so that we know exactly what we have got and where it needs to go. Some items can go straight to specific recycling facilities, like a cardboard recycler, concrete recycler or timber recycler. Others go to resource recovery facilities, for example an old tattered sofa will be shredded and end up on a conveyor belt where any recyclable parts – from metal to timber and springs will be separated for reuse, the rest goes to landfill.

Why should people use a rubbish removal service?

There’s a lot of expense involved in hiring a van and hauling junk away yourself. Cheapest Load of Rubbish can clear everything out for people and ensure their rubbish ends up in the best place. For many, the most obvious option for rubbish removal is landfill, but this should be a last-ditch option if no other methods are suitable for their items. The best disposal method is recycling. It keeps rubbish out of landfills and out of bodies of water. Most importantly, it gives the item new life as something else.

Why did you choose St Peters as a base for Cheapest Load of Rubbish?

Robert and I chose St Peters as we both grew up locally. We were already part of the community so knew the needs of the community when it came to rubbish removal. We developed a service to cater for locals, who often had difficult site access due to terrace or apartment living. Our fleet of trucks are flexible for alleyways and underground car parks, and by providing two men to load the rubbish on the truck for the customer, we remove their need to stress about, say, carrying a lounge downstairs from a second floor unit.

Any tips for people wanting to dispose of rubbish?

We always ask people to segregate their waste into different piles, like metal and timber, which makes it cheaper to remove as it’s easier for us to sort when we come to load and take back to our facility. If you have bulky stuff, it’s a good idea to break it down yourself as removalists often charge by the cubic metre.

Rubbish is big business these days, what are the opportunities and challenges in rubbish removal?

One of the biggest challenges is the high cost of disposing of rubbish at the moment as there is limited space in landfills, and not enough land to build new landfills. Which is another reason why we recycle as much as possible – it reduces costs. Another challenge is that while there are quite a lot of transfer stations or resource recovery facilities around Sydney there’s not enough specific recycling centres close to the city.

So what’s the solution for more efficient rubbish disposal?

Creating more resource recovery facilities for a start. We also need to encourage people to get more out of products so they don’t end up in a landfill. There should be more funding for new ideas, technology and solutions to make products more recyclable.

What are the most common things you remove and what has been the strangest thing you have had to take away?

The most common are household goods such as lounges, benches, cupboards, washing machines, garden waste, green waste, bikes and prams. We do a lot of residential waste removal, but also offices and building waste from construction sites, as well as deceased estates. The strangest thing I ever had to remove was the cockpit of a light aircraft, there was a minivan once too. They both got taken for scrap metal.

Can you talk me through what happens to old concrete, timber and white goods once you remove them?

These items will go directly to the appropriate recycling facility. Concrete gets crushed and turned into an aggregate and it either gets sold as road base or goes back into a concrete mixer. Clean hardwood timber gets shredded for reuse, the same with old chipboard.

White goods are mostly metal and get recycled at a metal recycler. The item is shredded and then all the metal parts are separated and repurposed. Recycling scrap metal is important as it has value and benefits the environment in reducing emissions from producing new items. It also keeps more items away from landfills, so it’s a win-win.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I like being outdoors, going to a new job every day, and getting to meet great people. I really enjoy the recycling side of things, because it means things get reused and I know that items are going to the right places.

Thanks Les, you provide the community with a great service, and it’s reassuring to know that so much waste is being recycled into something else.

For more information about Cheapest Load of Rubbish, check the website, follow on facebook, send an email to [email protected] or call on 02 9550 1181.