The Joy of Garbage Collecting

It is a unique profession and one that people don’t usually just fall into living out. Depending on who you are, collecting other people’s garbage is either no big deal or the grossest thing you have ever thought of doing. What about pumping septic tanks? Best of both worlds.

I grew up in the waste industry and was always the one to go into the dumpster to get the ball out at school. When the drivers would come around our school yard to empty the bin, I usually knew them. Even though I never thought this profession was for me, I did find that it didn’t bother me to collect someone else’s waste. I just did it.

Once you can put behind you the grossness of garbage collecting , you will actually see that you are in a unique profession. And since many people do not want to be around garbage there usually is no one fighting to compete. You can easily lock up a special calling by learning all of the trucks and how the collection process works. The you can go anywhere you want since most of the operations are all the same around the world.

Someone told me it was demoralizing to them to collect people’s waste. So, I can understand the challenges that others face but it has to get done, so I might as well jump in and just help clean it up.

See, I like to clean up and make areas look nice again. On the side of the road there is usually some form of illegal dumping. If I have time and room, I will usually just throw it in my truck and haul it off. That goes with the territory but it also helps make the community look a little nicer.

Why are many people grossed out by garbage? It could be a perception that since we haul someone’s garbage that we are hovering right around that level in our credibility. Again, its perception but people have looked down on me and made jokes. So what. I am used to it since grade school. I mean if they are going to pick on someone, it might as well be the garbageman, right?

Another component of the job is that we like to fly below the radar. Go out, collect the garbage and go home. Be invisible and let customers just come home to find an empty waste and recycling container. That is ideal, especially when they don’t know that you have even been there. That is good service. Anyway, it is nice to be left alone to go out and handle collecting the garbage without a huge fuss. See all the perks now?

So, that is what drives me to get up each day, influence our crew to raise the bar in their active roles. We need to think more of ourselves to make room for others to think more of our profession. We know what we do to keep the community free of additional health concerns, illegal dumping and a mess of garbage. Remember those shots of New York when the garbage couldn’t be collected? What a mess! Yet, I understand that people just want their garbage gone and not a word spoken otherwise.

…and that is the joy of garbage collecting…just make it go away…

Hey, so do you tip your garbage route driver or just want them to leave so you can go grab your cans? Are you grossed out by collecting garbage? Oh, do share as it helps me learn more as well.



Author: Damon Shea

Currently, I operate a waste hauling and recycling company in Northeastern California and I am also working through an eMBA program. Per one of my courses we are emerging ourselves into social media and that is my main purpose behind blogging and all of the other social avenues that I am involved with. My blog will focus on the waste & recycling industry and any subject matter within. Born into the waste hauling business, I have been playing in and around garbage containers since a child and am not afraid to haul away what you throw out. As a leader/manager, I have found that it is the people who do the work and not the equipment, so I have focused on understanding all peoples, especially my team. About me personally, I am of Italian/Irish decent, Roman Catholic. I am the youngest of three children and am now married with a beautiful strong wife and two awesome girls. Through my job, I am a member of Rotary International and I also sit on the board of our local Chamber of Commerce. We are heavily involved with building up the community that we serve and will do all in power to make garbage and recycling an easy process. Together we can explore the myths and realities of the waste & recycling industry and perhaps still make the world a better place.

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