Spotting weeds

“I like to contribute to my living environment”

Mail deliverers using smartphones opens the road to all kinds of new types of service. This could include mail deliverers reading the water meter, spotting loose pavement tiles or broken street furniture. In 2016 waste processor Twente Milieu wanted to test which method of weed removal works best. Since poison has been banned they had to look for other methods. A number of mail deliverers helped by taking photographs. Sandra Vonk took photos of weeds in her home town Almelo. She told us about her experiences.

How did you get involved in this project?

“I was asked. I am always interested in new things. So when I was asked to work on this, I said yes right away. The week after that, I had already set to work. I really enjoyed it. I felt that I was able to contribute to my neighbourhood. That felt good.”

Sandra Vonk

What did you do exactly?

“With ten other colleagues, I had to take photos of certain places on certain streets with my telephone. That was about 100 places in Almelo and two other nearby towns: one photo a week of the same place. With that, Twente Milieu wanted to get a better idea of the success of their weed control. They used different methods: steel brushes, hot water or hot air. And they wanted to be able to compare the results of these methods.”

Were you able to take the photos on your normal round?

“In principle you could do this very well while walking your usual round, colleagues told me. But the locations I had to photograph were in a different neighbourhood, next to the one where I deliver mail. So I did it outside of my normal work. And of course, we did get paid for the time we spent on it.”

What kind of reactions did you get from the residents?

“That was actually pretty funny. Some people came to ask what I was doing. They were concerned about their privacy: you’re not taking pictures of my garden, or my car, are you? But when I explained what I was doing, they didn’t mind.”

What did your colleagues think of this project?

“There are colleagues that don’t want anything to do with it. They say: I was hired to deliver the mail; just let me do that. I don’t want to do anything else. But some of them are curious, too. Maybe that’s also because there was a big article on our work for Twente Milieu here in the local paper.”

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