As a Grade 8 Pianist, a musical career was a possibility for Callum Duff, but instead of tinkling the ivories for a living, thankfully (for Yorwaste), he’s now working out how to restore our largest landfill site.
Callum is our Aftercare and Restoration Manager.
He leads a team of four tasked with overseeing the restoration of our landfill sites which, following the recent mothballing of Harewood Whin, now amounts to eight sites.
This effectively entails taking a massive hole in the ground full of waste and transforming it into a natural state complete with soil, grassland, trees and shrubs.
It’s a long process and to give it perspective, 32-year-old Callum says he is likely to have retired before Harewood Whin – given it is such a large landfill – is fully restored.
But for now, back to the piano.
Scottish-born Callum started playing when he was six-years-old, practising for two hours each day as he got older.
He considered going to university to study music, but his love of science won the day and he went on to get a degree in environmental biology.
Callum says: “After I left university we were in the middle of a recession and graduate jobs were hard to come by, so I effectively took the first one I was offered, which was undertaking monitoring at a local landfill site.
“Taking samples in the middle of winter in Scotland and being covered in leachate (a liquid which comes from a landfill site) wasn’t glamorous, but it gave me an insight into waste management and led to the job at Yorwaste, where I have now been for eight years.”
Callum says there is no typical day in his working life and he can either be found at our head office in Northallerton or visiting one of our sites.
He adds: “The most important of my job is ensuring we are complying with the environmental permit issued by the Environment Agency and ensuring the leachate is under control, as well as the methane gas which comes from a landfill and which we convert into green energy.
“The joke in the office is that my job costs the company the most money because looking after, and restoring, a landfill involves millions of pounds worth of investment.
“Ultimately, the goal is to hand the site back without anyone ever knowing it was a landfill site.”
When he’s not at work, Callum enjoys spending time with his wife Rachael and their baby daughter Maisie, as well as playing football and watching his beloved Scotland in action.
He says: “Rachael is English, but I have already told her that when Maisie is old enough, I am going to get a Scotland top for her, although I do recognise that will open a whole world of pain for her!”
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