Fruitful holiday creates loads of garbage

Published 12:05 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2015

After all the gifts have been opened and tables cleared, trashcans all over town are filled to the brim with discarded wrappings and food scraps. Some homes even have over-sized garbage bags and boxes sitting alongside their Waste Management bins anxiously awaiting “garbage day.”

For those responsible for the pick up, the holidays create the busiest times of the year Waste Management driver Ashley Smith said.

“Christmas and New Years are our biggest pick up days. I think people are cleaning out for the tax season,” Smith laughed.

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Smith said his crew began their first day back on the job following the Christmas holiday at 6:20 a.m., and the three-man crew was set to service the more than 1,500 homes on their routes, he said.

“I hate to see the garbage, but we anticipate it’s going to be extra garbage to pick up,” Smith said.

What is typically an 8 to 10-hour day can easily turn into a 12-hour day, Smith said.

Working as Smith’s hoppers — the guys who ride on the back of the truck — Freddie Harris and Tarik Hall said in the years they have worked with Waste Management, they have seen it all, when it comes to the garbage left for them to haul off.

“We don’t put anything past anybody. You name it we’ve seen it,” Harris said, adding that there have been whole rooms of furniture for the crew to load up in the truck.

On Monday, Smith and his crew were busy picking up the remains of the holidays with the anticipation of collecting family’s discarded Christmas trees in the near future.

Waste Management trucks that service residential areas will hold between nine and 10 tons of garbage, route supervisor Larry King said, and for Smith and his crew that means they have to return to the facility on U.S. 61 South before completing their job.

“We have to go back and empty once before we can finish up,” Harris said.

King said the local Waste Management facility has five trucks that service the more than 5,000 residential garbage collections.

Of the five trucks, four have three-man crews and one truck has a two-man crew, King said.

Waste Management employees are paid by the hour for their services, King said, and their friendly attitudes are part of the job.

“We do encourage them to be courteous,” he said, and for Smith and his hoppers, it was evident they were fulfilling their employment expectations.

While in route Monday, Smith stopped his truck for Harris to run back and retrieve some forgotten garbage.

A woman came rushing out of her house with a bag of trash in hand and while she was apologizing for holding the crew up, Harris maintained a big smile on his face assuring her it was no trouble.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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