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Rubbish Collection

From the industrial wastelands of Ravenscraig Steel Works to the serene gardens of England, rubbish tells tales of our past and present

Background imageRubbish Collection: Ravenscraig Steel Works, Motherwell, 1978

Ravenscraig Steel Works, Motherwell, 1978
Ravenscraig, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland

Background imageRubbish Collection: Children playing in the back alleys of a Goven tenement block. September 1956

Children playing in the back alleys of a Goven tenement block. September 1956

Background imageRubbish Collection: Flood at Johnstown / USA

Flood at Johnstown / USA
A mother watches helplessly as her husband and young duaghter are swept away by the raging waters of a flood that hit Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Background imageRubbish Collection: Two young men sorting through a pile of scrap metal

Two young men sorting through a pile of scrap metal
Two young men, one in a top hat, the other in a bowler hat, sorting through a rather unpromising pile of scrap metal in a junk yard

Background imageRubbish Collection: WW2 - Recycling cans to aid war effort in East Ham, London

WW2 - Recycling cans to aid war effort in East Ham, London
WW2 - Recycling tin cans to aid the war effort in East Ham, London - April, 1940. Date: 1940

Background imageRubbish Collection: Teddy Bear (with hidden objects)

Teddy Bear (with hidden objects)

Background imageRubbish Collection: Piles of rubbish in Soho, London, during the dustmens strike. 30th January 1979

Piles of rubbish in Soho, London, during the dustmens strike. 30th January 1979

Background imageRubbish Collection: Vehicle engine scrap metal

Vehicle engine scrap metal

Background imageRubbish Collection: The barge Mocking Bird at low tide at Gravesend Reach, Kent. 1938

The barge Mocking Bird at low tide at Gravesend Reach, Kent. 1938
The barge " Mocking Bird " at low tide at Gravesend Reach, Kent. 1938

Background imageRubbish Collection: 220 litres compost bin made by Blackwall using 100% recycled plastic Cotswolds UK

220 litres compost bin made by Blackwall using 100% recycled plastic Cotswolds UK
MAB-203 220 litres compost bin made by Blackwall using 100% recycled plastic Cotswolds UK Mark Boulton contact details: prints@ardea.com tel: +44 (0) 20 8318 1401

Background imageRubbish Collection: Gulls mainly Herring and Black-headed Gulls on rubbish tip Edgfield Norfolk winter

Gulls mainly Herring and Black-headed Gulls on rubbish tip Edgfield Norfolk winter

Background imageRubbish Collection: Compost / wormery - worms visible amongst variety of kitchen waste including vegetable

Compost / wormery - worms visible amongst variety of kitchen waste including vegetable and fruit peelings
MAB-391 Compost / wormery - worms visible amongst variety of kitchen waste including vegetable and fruit peelings and cardboard in top of black plastic recycled composting bin UK Mark Boulton Please

Background imageRubbish Collection: Blitz in London -- pulling debris clear, WW2

Blitz in London -- pulling debris clear, WW2
Blitz in London -- firefighters pulling debris clear following an air raid. Date: 1940s

Background imageRubbish Collection: Texel Sheep - lamb playing with chocolate wrapping paper, Island of Texel, Holland

Texel Sheep - lamb playing with chocolate wrapping paper, Island of Texel, Holland
USH-3964 Texel Sheep - lamb playing with chocolate wrapping paper Island of Texel, Holland Duncan Usher Please note that prints are for personal display purposes only

Background imageRubbish Collection: Abandoned rural branch line signal box

Abandoned rural branch line signal box, Worcestershire, England. Photograph by Norman Synge Waller Budd

Background imageRubbish Collection: derelict houses in Manchester UK

derelict houses in Manchester UK
Ashley Cooper / SpecialistStock

Background imageRubbish Collection: Defoes Manuscript of Robinson Crusoe rejected by the Publishers

Defoes Manuscript of Robinson Crusoe rejected by the Publishers
NWP153582 Defoes Manuscript of Robinson Crusoe rejected by the Publishers by Ward, Edward Matthew (1816-79); 67x89 cm; Newport Museum and Art Gallery

Background imageRubbish Collection: Boy with bicycle wheel, Balham, SW London

Boy with bicycle wheel, Balham, SW London
A little boy with a bicycle wheel on a Balham street, SW London. Date: circa 1961

Background imageRubbish Collection: Food waste recycling lorry collecting hotel food waste Lynmouth Devon UK

Food waste recycling lorry collecting hotel food waste Lynmouth Devon UK
MAB-1364 Food waste recycling lorry collecting hotel food waste Lynmouth Devon UK Mark Boulton contact details: prints@ardea.com tel: +44 (0) 20 8318 1401

Background imageRubbish Collection: Supermarket trolleys thrown into Whitehaven harbour by vandals, Cumbria, UK

Supermarket trolleys thrown into Whitehaven harbour by vandals, Cumbria, UK
Ashley Cooper / SpecialistStock

Background imageRubbish Collection: Strandline plastic litter, Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Strandline plastic litter, Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Andrew Davies / SpecialistStock

Background imageRubbish Collection: Chips made from recycled plastic bottles are seen before being processed at the Weeco

Chips made from recycled plastic bottles are seen before being processed at the Weeco plastic recycling factory at the Athi River industrial zone near Nairobi, Kenya, May 15, 2019

Background imageRubbish Collection: Discarded TV a071519

Discarded TV a071519
A discarded television beside a row of four dustbins outside a house in Kentish Town, Camden, Greater London. Photographed by John Gay

Background imageRubbish Collection: Formula One World Championship

Formula One World Championship
Full rubbish bin. British Grand Prix, Rd8, Silverstone, England, Early Preparations, Tuesday 16 June 2009

Background imageRubbish Collection: The scene of depravation at the Moss Croft estate in Huyton, Merseyside. 7th April 1991

The scene of depravation at the Moss Croft estate in Huyton, Merseyside. 7th April 1991

Background imageRubbish Collection: Batemans, The Welsh Grocers, new supermarket at Caerau Lane, Ely, Cardiff, Wales

Batemans, The Welsh Grocers, new supermarket at Caerau Lane, Ely, Cardiff, Wales, 22nd July 1965

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12479496

Picture No. 12479496
Plastic garbage floating in the ocean. Unlike Date:

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12479488

Picture No. 12479488
Plastic fish food. Concept image of a fish cut Date:

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12479372

Picture No. 12479372
Titan triggerfish, Balistoides viridescens, eating Date:

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12020767

Picture No. 12020767
Stellate puffer, Arothron stellatus, eating a plastic bottle. Plastic bags and a lot of other plastic garbage drift through oceans driven by wind and ocean currents

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12020766

Picture No. 12020766
Yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares eating a styrofoam cup. Plastic bags and a lot of other plastic garbage drift through oceans driven by wind and ocean currents

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12020758

Picture No. 12020758
Concept image alluding to death caused by plastic garbage drifting in the oceans. Toy representing a skull in the middle of various plastic garbage floating in the ocean

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12020756

Picture No. 12020756
Sea turtle eating a detergent styrofoam cup. Plastic bags and a lot of other plastic garbage drift through oceans driven by wind and ocean currents

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12020755

Picture No. 12020755
Sea turtle eating a detergent plastic bottle. Plastic bags and a lot of other trash of rotting plastic drift through oceans driven by wind and ocean currents

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12020754

Picture No. 12020754
Sea turtle swallowing a plastic bag much like a jellyfish that is one of its natural foods. Plastic bags and a lot of other plastic trash drift through oceans driven by wind and ocean currents

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12020753

Picture No. 12020753
Sea turtle eating a detergent styrofoam cup. Plastic bags and a lot of other plastic garbage drift through oceans driven by wind and ocean currents

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12020749

Picture No. 12020749
Sea lion, with nylon strings and piece of fishing net wrapped around his neck that caused him a deep wound. Hundreds of thousands of marine animals (fish, reptiles)

Background imageRubbish Collection: Picture No. 12020745

Picture No. 12020745
Hawaiian monk seal, Neomonachus schauinslandi, playing with empty plastic bottle on a beach covered with plastic garbage. All this garbage was brought by the sea currents from afar; even

Background imageRubbish Collection: Flooded square filled with rubbish in central Thies, Senegal

Flooded square filled with rubbish in central Thies, Senegal

Background imageRubbish Collection: A cigarette butt litters the street in Lyon

A cigarette butt litters the street in Lyon, France, June 14, 2018. The French government wants to end the bane of discarded cigarette butts

Background imageRubbish Collection: Empty fountains are seen in Adderley Street in central Cape Town

Empty fountains are seen in Adderley Street in central Cape Town, South Africa, January 28, 2018. Picture taken January 28, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Background imageRubbish Collection: Limbs of dolls are shown as spare parts in a pile ready to be used in customers doll

Limbs of dolls are shown as spare parts in a pile ready to be used in customers doll repairs at Sydneys Doll Hospital, May 20, 2014

Background imageRubbish Collection: A crow carrying litter is chased by another in Islamabad

A crow carrying litter is chased by another in Islamabad, Pakistan February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

Background imageRubbish Collection: A stray dog stands on a rubbish dump at the seafront in Sidon

A stray dog stands on a rubbish dump at the seafront in Sidon, southern Lebanon, June 9, 2012. The dump, located near schools, hospitals and apartment blocks in Lebanons third biggest city

Background imageRubbish Collection: Plastic bottles are stocked to be recycled at the Weeco plastic recycling factory at the

Plastic bottles are stocked to be recycled at the Weeco plastic recycling factory at the Athi River industrial zone near Nairobi, Kenya, May 15, 2019. Picture taken May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Background imageRubbish Collection: Scenic lake view with beautiful sunset, garbage and broken pier at summer night in Finland

Scenic lake view with beautiful sunset, garbage and broken pier at summer night in Finland

Background imageRubbish Collection: Norah Blaney working on a dust-cart in WWII

Norah Blaney working on a dust-cart in WWII
Actress, singer and variety star, Norah Blaney (Mrs Basil Hughes), driving on a dust-cart and collecting refuse for Basildon Council as part of the war effort during the Second World War. Date: 1940

Background imageRubbish Collection: Portrait of Eugene Poubelle (1831-1907), from La Revue Illustree

Portrait of Eugene Poubelle (1831-1907), from La Revue Illustree
CHT206215 Portrait of Eugene Poubelle (1831-1907), from La Revue Illustree. 15th June 1893 (colour engraving) by French School, (19th century); Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris



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From the industrial wastelands of Ravenscraig Steel Works to the serene gardens of England, rubbish tells tales of our past and present. In 1978, amidst the towering structures of Motherwell, Scotland, a generation witnessed the rise and fall of an iconic steel industry. Meanwhile, in an English garden in September, a willow enclosure discreetly concealed wheelie bins filled with discarded remnants of daily life. In another corner of the world, two young men meticulously sorted through a pile of scrap metal, breathing new life into forgotten treasures. Across continents and time periods alike, floods ravaged towns like Johnstown in the USA while war efforts during WW2 saw cans recycled in East Ham to aid those fighting for freedom. Amidst these stories lies unexpected beauty - hidden objects nestled within teddy bears or playful lambs frolicking with chocolate wrapping paper on Texel Island in Holland. Even vehicle engines find solace as scrap metal waiting for their chance at rebirth. Nature too finds its place among rubbish heaps - gulls gracefully soaring above Norfolk's Edgfield rubbish tip during winter months or worms diligently working their magic within compost bins made from recycled plastic in Cotswolds UK. And then there are moments that define resilience - London's Blitz where debris was pulled clear by determined hands during WW2. These acts remind us that even amidst destruction and chaos, we have the power to rebuild and transform waste into something meaningful. Rubbish may be seen as unwanted refuse but it holds stories untold; fragments that connect us across time and space, and is a reminder that what we discard today has consequences tomorrow – urging us to rethink our relationship with waste and embrace sustainable practices for a better future.