Garbage truck drivers and collectors, recycling workers, landfill operators and attendants, sanitation workers, and anyone who performs the jobs that help keep our communities clean and safe can be celebrated on June 17. Friday marks National Garbage Man Day, a grassroots initiative to highlight the importance of waste management professionals and recognize the hardworking men and women that play a vital role in maintaining the cleanliness and health of our neighborhoods.
National Garbage Man Day was established by John D. Arwood, a second generation garbage man, and CEO of Arwood Waste in Jacksonville, Florida. He launched a website to support the new holiday, www.garbagemanday.com, where you’ll find ways to celebrate, a comprehensive history of garbage collection, and activities for children.
In regards to garbage and recycling collectors, Arwood said in a recent article, “They’re there every week. They’re doing a service for the community. To me, they should be recognized as much as a policeman, a fireman or any other public servant that’s exposed out there in the streets.”
According to the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recently updated Census of Fatal Occupation Injuries, which ranks the most dangerous jobs in America, refuse and recyclable material collectors are in fifth place as one of the most dangerous types of work. This is a higher rank than construction workers, and policemen.
“Although it might not be the most glamorous job around, our garbage and recycling sanitation workers are some of the most vital employees in local government,” said Andrew Parker, assistant public works director for the City of Dalton. “Similar to the US Postal Service, ‘neither snow, nor rain, nor heat’ keeps these sanitation workers from completing their daily service routes. We are proud of the professionalism and efficiency they exhibit on a daily basis in serving the citizens of Dalton.”
In the city of Dalton, the public works department runs three garbage trucks on a typical collection day. These drivers stop at approximately 8,000 households per week collecting an estimated 12,000 tons of garbage annually. The recycling collection service includes three trucks called curb sorters. These stop at approximately 3,000 households per week collecting an estimated 1,300 tons of recyclable materials at the curb annually.
There are many other garbage collectors in the community, such as the city of Varnell sanitation department and various private haulers. The Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority manages four drop-off sites for household garbage and recyclable materials that are manned by an attendant, and the county landfill staffed with certified operators. With the efforts of both public and private collectors, we are able to maintain a clean and healthy environment for the benefit of all residents.
So how do you celebrate National Garbage Man Day? It’s as easy as coming out to the curb to tell the garbage collectors and recycling collectors that stop by your house every week to pick up your trash and recyclables, “Thank you!” If you go to one of the drop-off sites to dispose of your garbage, take a moment to give the attendant a high five. A simple show of appreciation goes a long way for those people that work behind the scenes day to day to keep our community clean.
Here are some more ideas from the National Garbage Man Day website:
• Cookies, Water: Consider meeting your provider with a treat like cookies, or a cold bottle of water.
• Thank You Card: Tape a thank you card to your recycling bin or trash cart. Have your kids draw a garbage truck on the card to make it extra special.
• Share on Facebook: Like the official page at facebook.com/GarbageManDay and remind your friends and family of the sometimes unseen people in our lives who deserve thanks.
• Call It In: Call the offices of your local waste providers to say thank you, and share your appreciation for employees that do their job well. In the City, you can call the City of Dalton Public Works Department at 706-278-7077. For the county convenience centers and landfill call the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority at 706-277-2545. For the City of Varnell call the sanitation department at 706-852-2201.