Organisation - August 31, 2017

60 kilos of litter a day

Tessa Louwerens

Theo Vos walks across the grassy field at the Forum with a green bucket in one hand and a litter picker in the other. He picks up a plastic bottle, which he keeps to one side. ‘There is a deposit on that, it’s a shame to throw that out. I’m thinking of donating the money to a charity.’

photo Margriet van Vianen

Vos takes good care of the ‘garden’, as he affectionately calls the campus. As one of Facilities and Services’ six groundsmen, his responsibilities include keeping the grounds free of litter. He collects an average of 60 kilos a day, and not just plastic. ‘I’ve come across a lot of strange things before now: from bicycles in the pond to toilet bowls, and once even a surf board.’

Vos started out 30 years ago as a technician at the Institute for Plant Protection (IPO). When he developed arthritis 10 years ago, he was given a more suitable job. ‘I think in some companies I would have been made redundant, but the university offers so many possibilities. I am now in the autumn of my life, but I am having a good time and it is lovely to be out of doors. Because I come into all the buildings every day, I talk to a lot of people too. I’ve built up quite a big circle of acquaintances by now.’