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.
Email newsletter signup
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.