University of Georgia Journalist, Hunter Lacey talks with Advanced Disposal on how the company will honor Waste and Recycling Workers Week this June 17th
Hunter Lacey/HHJ Intern
• Wed, Jun 05, 2013
The closest encounter most citizens have with garbage is the weekly act of dragging their trash bin to the side of the road.
This ritual is burdensome, but requires very little effort. Out of sight, out of mind.
However, for a certain few, garbage disposal is a lifestyle — a grimy and underappreciated profession.
John D. Arwood, CEO of Arwood Waste Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla., is attempting to place a national spotlight on the noble garbage man, even if only for a day.
Arwood hopes for June 17 to be recognized as Waste and Recycling Workers Week.
“The garbage men are at your house every week to pick up your trash,” Arwood said. “Showing them they’re needed is all I’m trying to do.”
Arwood was inspired to create the holiday when reading his Bible, noticing the various plagues and diseases present in scripture and how most of them have been eliminated from modern times due to reliable sanitation workers.
“This is a day that should have been recognized a long time ago,” Arwood said.
And many cities are in agreement.
Arwood says government officials in both Jacksonville Beach, Fla., and Los Angeles, Calif., have filed to declare the Waste and Recycling Workers Week a recognized holiday in their cities.
But the holiday has a more locally focused scope.
Jeanne Moyer, operations manager at Advanced Disposal Services in Kathleen, hopes Houston County residents will take a moment to appreciate their diligent disposers of waste.
In Houston County, garbage men receive 6 holidays a year, but if a week is cut short by a holiday, waste services typically work on Saturdays to compensate for the day off.
“We never get a total day off,” Moyer said. “People tend to not like not getting their trash picked up.”
The men at Advanced Disposal usually work 10 to 11 hour days, picking up, hauling and disposing waste generated by the city’s residents and businesses.
Residential waste services start working at 6:30 a.m., while those who dispose of waste generated by restaurants and gas stations begin working as early as 1 a.m.
Even more exhausting than the hours they work is the unyielding middle Georgia heat that the workers endure.
“They’re all very hardworking men,” Moyer said. “They work hard and they don’t complain.”
The garbage men remain undeterred and focused on the invaluable service they provide the community year round, even if the only thanks they receive is a day of recognition or a humble bottle of water.