Why we appreciate our dedicated and hardworking garbage and recycling men (and women) SO MUCH, and why you should too!
June 17th is National Garbage Man Day and American would like to take a moment to appreciate the men and women who make our world a little cleaner and greener!
Do you know your garbage man? It’s ok if you don’t. When we’re rushing around in the morning on our way to a hectic day at work the man picking up our trash and recycling is usually the last thing on our mind.
Yet every week they are there, they come to your house and empty those bins at the curb. However, that is only a TINY fraction of what these incredible men do every day: rain or shine, heat or snow, and often times with no recognition.
I have personally met all 348 of our “Garbage Men” (“Our Guys” as we lovingly refer to them) and I can tell you: they are some of the hardest working, most dedicated people I’ve ever met.
This blog is in praise of those men. It’s our way of introducing you, and telling you about all the amazing things they do for American, for you, but most of all; why we appreciate them so much. There is no better day to sing their praises, then on National Garbage Man Day.
The Facts: AKA What our Guys Do EVERY DAY
They get up (REALLY) early:
A garbage/recycling man’s day starts in the middle of the night. Commercial drivers often start their route before 2am.
Depending on the length and difficulty of their route, some work surprisingly long days and once they return home to their families they often have to go straight to bed in order to get up that early the next day too.
And that work cycle….repeats, repeats, repeats.
They work (REALLY HARD) in ALL the Seasons:
Picking up and dumping trash bins over and over for hours every day is physically taxing to say the LEAST, but when you throw extreme temperatures into the mix it becomes even more dangerous.
In the summer, the guys have to stay constantly hydrated in order to avoid heatstroke (a VERY serious risk for them in the hot months) and in the winter, they must be sure to take precautions to avoid frostbite (a VERY serious risk in the cold months).
Risky Business…AKA: It’s a Dangerous Job
If you look up the 10 most dangerous jobs in America, you will ALWAYS find refuse and recycling collectors on there.
The profession has been as high as #3 in the past. Last year it was #6 according to Time magazine, this year, the fatality rate has risen even higher for 2015, check out #5 in this article of the11 Most Dangerous Jobs
If you don’t believe me, add this to the mix: According to a Time Magazine article, Hazardous Material, Heavy Equipment, and Road Incidents are the top reason this career makes the list every year.
Speaking of the “Most Dangerous” list: Refuse and Recycling Collectors beat out Construction Workers, Truck Drivers (yes, even ICE road truck drivers), Farm Workers and Powerline Installers.
All just to pick up your trash.
Yes, I’ve ridden on the back of a trash truck. EVERY SINGLE ONE of American employees have. They are called “Ride Alongs” and they are required in our training when we are hired here at American.
It is vitally important to our owners (who started as “Garbage Men” themselves) that we all experience what our guys do, first hand. Not only so we get a better understanding of how each aspect of the company works, but also so we fully appreciate how hard these men work and really understand what they do.
Every employee goes on not one, not two, but THREE “Ride Alongs”: One Rear Load (Residential) one Front Load (Commercial) and one Roll-off.
That means each and every one of us (from dispatch, to accounting to managers and directors) has gotten up in the middle of the night, came to the office, and hopped in a trash truck alongside the driver-and stayed with them for their entire day.
These “Ride Alongs” are an enlightening, and awe inspiring experience. I kept a journal during my three days, and although we do not participate in the actual LABOR on the Ride Alongs (driving the truck, picking up the bins etc.) I was honestly exhausted after just those three days.
It boggled my mind how these men could do this day in and day out, and still greet me with a smile every time I saw them coming back to the office at the end of the day.
The Ride Along experience forever changed my perception – I understood why it was so important that we all participate in the Ride Alongs, and to this day I respect and admire “our guys”, as well as ALL refuse and recycling collection workers, more than most of the people I’ve ever met.
BBQs & Pizza Parties
So how do we show all our appreciation? The third Thursday of every month, American employees host a BBQ (in the summer months) or Pizza Party for “our guys.”
Volunteers from every department get on the grills (in the summer), set out the coleslaw, cookies, Gatorades and chips; or Pizza (in the autumn and winter when it’s too cold outside for the grill), and serve them food all day long.
Whether they are between routes, or coming back to the office when they are done, they are free to come and go as many times as they like. It’s our small gift to show them that they are appreciated. Without our American “Garbage Men” there would be NO American, it’s as simple as that.
So the next time you see the American truck picking up your trash or recycling be sure to say Hi to the incredibly dedicated and hardworking men in the truck, and thank them for all that they do!
As Always, Thanks for Reading!