Clean Team

Contact with: Paul (team leader), Guus (machine driver expert), James (blowing or pricken), Jacob (pricken), Turkish man (blowing)

Dealing respectively with: litter and leaves

Structure: work as a team, move with a van, cover the restricted areas.

Tools: blower, the Machine, pricken, garbage bag, garbage bag holder, gloves

Quotes:  “I can’t say that we are the best but we are a good team and do a good job”

What we learnt: Cigarettes are not considered trash, the looping dirt can be frustrating, and if you can manage to hear Guus good while he is driving, he will provide a detailed professional insight on the functioning of The Machine. People call him The Machine expert. You need a truck driving license to drive it although he would close his eyes for once to make us try. Only few members of the team will access the position of The Machine expert.


Grey Team

Contact with: Clinton, Raymond, Mike, Brian, Jordi

Dealing respectively with: streets/sidewalks/benches and everything that you cannot sweep or shear

Structure: work in a team of two, move with a van, can be freelancers, respond mainly on complains

Tools: knee protection, pickaxe, shovel, broom, sand, brick and stones

What we learned: roads can get damaged by several things: rain, heavy trucks, moles or roots of the trees. Most of the time it is easy to analyse the problem quickly: when a mole comes, the road sinks down, when the roots grows too far from the tree, the road turns into a little mountain. 

“Crime scene”: because sidewalk sunk in front of a door, a woman can no longer exit the house with her wheelchair. The sidewalk must be made higher, equal to the door level.

What happened: while repairing the road an old man came outside. I could not decide if his eyes were smiling or crying.  After standing with us for few minutes looking at Brian’s work, he said: “I only called yesterday and you are already here.”


Green Team

Contact with: Klas and Frank

Dealing respectively with: public trees, fields and bushes

Structure: works in team of two, moves with a van, responds mainly on complains

Tools: blower, huge scissor, pitchfork (Klas has the ‘golden’ version), bushes cutter, gloves


“Be careful with the wasps and brand-nettle and do not step into dogshit.”

“Working from other while doing is a way more efficient way of learning then from books.”

“When I cut the hay totally straight, this is art.”


Public space should be green! But not too much. Bushes grow too high and dense in between residential houses, where ghosts or other creatures can hide too good. With Klas and Frank we drove to the spot and handled the bush-cutter scissors, while Klas used the electric cutter to get rid of the useless green. One of us followed with the pitchfork, and piled it all on the back of the van. Not the ‘golden pitchfork’: that is only for the practiced hands of Klas.


Plus Team & Service team

Contact with: Michel (Plus), Jarno and Geert (service team)

Dealing respectively with: cleaning of public space or specific ‘green projects’ such as repairing borders

Structure: support regular clean or grey team when needed, flexible locations, cover the most dirty areas or responds on complains

Tools: blower, The Machine - if it is needed, pricken, garbage bag, garbage bag holder, gloves


“Have you seen my black cat?”

“Satisfaction is when after cleaning a big area, when you come back the day after it is still clean”

What have we learnt? While dérive walking between houses with dark tunnels, parking lots with thrown condoms and garden passages with hiding trash in the grass, we are seeking for smaller garbage what could not been handled by the other garbage department. It needs a good practice what and how to pick up. We use a long picking stick and the soul of our shoes, to bend the very flat pieces to make it easy to handle.



Project part of De Nieuwe Banne program, supported by Over het ij festival