*Some may thumb their noses at these recycling heroes, but the smart among us salute them. Trash collectors are the most under-appreciated employees in the service system. They are also among the most misrepresented.
But most of all, this position is listed among the top 5 most dangerous. There are things we can do to help the sanitation workers who come to pick up our trash. It just takes a little thoughtfulness.
Moreover, there is SO much to learn about the men and women…just in case I stuttered?…who do this job.
Here’s 5 things they think you should know.
Yes, we do accept tips and thank you for your thoughtfulness…
The holidays are coming up. Your garbage collector would appreciate the extra money, and will remember who they got it from throughout the year!
You give a tip to your mailman and newspaper carrier … why not the trash collector? Official policies on tips vary, but most of us will accept them. Some folks tape an envelope to their bins. Or you can leave a note that says “Ring the bell. We have a tip for you.”
Be careful of what you put in the trash…Chemical reactions do occur!
Old nail polish, a lighter that no longer works, thrown in the garbage can lead to disaster!
On occasion, our trucks actually catch on fire. It’s typically because a farmer dumped in some kind of highly toxic pesticide. When a fire starts, we have to drive around trying to find to a safe spot to dump. You don’t want to be the one who loses a $250,000 garbage truck.
Uh no, ma’am. We probably can’t find the meds you accidentally threw away.
Seriously? Do you expect the trash collector to dig through mounds of trash to find something you mindlessly discarded? But just in case they do, consider yourself extremely fortunate they took the time to do so (and hopefully reward them for their trouble).
One time we had a woman who called us, freaking out, because her child with special needs had thrown out a grocery bag that had his medication, her checkbook and some money. She wanted to know if there was any way to retrieve the bag. Well, the truck had already picked up the trash from about 1,000 homes on that route. How were we going to find the one bag? But we decided to try. We had the truck dump in a special area, recruited some guys, spread everything out and started searching. It took an hour and half, but we actually found it.
It’s not the trash collectors fault if you find trash strew all over your lawn.
That usually means that your roll cart was facing the wrong way. Our automated arm can still pick it up, but when we dump your garbage into the truck, some of it stacks on the underside of the open lid. Then, when we put the can down, the lid is like a catapult and it shoots trash everywhere. (Look for arrows on your cart showing which side should face the street.)
Goodness! There’s a homeless woman in there?
Yep! It happens.
Sometimes, when my truck lifts up a dumpster, I’ll hear yelling and banging — and a homeless person will pop up out of there. When it’s cold or wet outside, they see the bins as a nice warm place to get out of the rain.