East Ham Council had a fleet of small eco-friendly electric vans collecting recycling material and were a precursor to the "orange bag" collection of today.
This was one of the 'new' fleet of Morrison electic vans and is shown here on 23rd February, 1965 in East Avenue, Manor Park.
Recycling is not new and it came into its own during the Second World War - but was then known as Salvage. People were encouraged to give up old pots and pans, newspapers and tyres, etc., and to recycle other items for the war effort because of the scarcity of raw materials. East Ham continued some of this collection well after the war although West Ham discontinued it sooner.
The van is seen here collecting two main materials: newspapers and pig-waste. Vegetable peelings and left-over food was placed in a lidded galvanised pail. Old daily newspapers were bundled up or put in a tub. Each week the householder would put the pail and papers into their front gate and the vans would come round and collect it (usually on a different day to the dustbin collection). Papers were posted through the slots on the sides into sacks (some of which can be seen in the van). Cardboard, etc., went into a hold above the drivers cab. Pig-waste was emptied into the rectangular bins seen in the large apperture to the rear. All of this was taken back to the council depot for sorting and the pig-waste was boiled up and made into a mash to feed the animals in the municipal piggery.
These 'new' vans were painted in a livery of mid-grey and they replaced an older fleet of three-wheelers. (For an image of one of these see "Pig Waste")