CLEARWATER, Fla. — Give your garbage man or woman a big high-five in celebration of National Solid Waste & Recycling Workers Week. These men and women play a vital role in keeping Clearwater bright and beautiful.
Many people forget about their garbage once they throw it away, but the city would be a disgusting place without Clearwater’s solid waste and recycling team. Garbage can overrun cities in a matter of days. Fortunately, we don’t have to live with waste, thanks to Clearwater’s sanitation staff.
“The men and women in the solid waste industry are truly the unsung heroes, who work hard each day to keep the community clean and healthy,” said Earl Gloster, Director of Solid Waste and General Services.
The city’s solid waste and recycling teams include more than just the front-line workers who remove trash and recycling from the curb. You may not be aware of these crews that also are an important part of our team:
- Operations Team. The city’s operations team of five staff receives an average of 1,400 calls a month, and it handles requests from all residential and commercial accounts, which is about 27,500 customers. Customer requests may include roll-off containers that need emptied or when residents ask to get a container repaired. They have knowledge of all aspects of the city’s trash and recycling services. They also communicate with city drivers via radio, make work request tickets for drivers and maintenance, and provide top-notch customer service.
- Transfer Station Team. Where does your trash go after it is picked up? The trucks that pick up your barrels do not drive directly to the landfill. City trucks pick up trash from the curb and dumpsters and then empty the compressed waste at the Clearwater Transfer Station when they’re full. The garbage then is loaded into larger, specialized trucks, which take it to the Pinellas County site, where it is then taken to either the waste-to-energy plant (where it is burned) or to the landfill. This keeps solid waste trucks at work in the neighborhoods serving customers, rather than driving back and forth outside of the city to empty out truckloads of solid waste.
The team at the Transfer Station can move 650 tons of trash on a busy day with a staff of 11 people. They are key to the efficiency and sustainability of the Solid Waste Department.
- Container Maintenance Team. The Solid Waste department has a team of nine people, who are dedicated to keeping the barrels and dumpsters in good condition. This includes approximately 3,600 commercial dumpsters, 28,000 residential black barrels for solid waste, 28,000 residential blue barrels for recycling, 400 multi-family recycling carts, 210 roll-off containers, and 90 compactors. They issue containers to new customers, pick up containers upon termination of service, and replace or make on-site repairs to damaged containers.
They do everything needed to ensure containers are usable for customers, such as fixing holes and wear, painting, adding proper labeling, ensuring wheels are working, changing lids, and beyond. To reduce waste and maximize the cost-effective life of the containers, they are fixed and refurbished until they reach the end of their working life. This team has a range of skills, including welding, and they work tirelessly to get their work done in a timely manner.
Thank you to all of the city’s outstanding solid waste and recycling employees for their dedication to keeping Clearwater bright and beautiful.