2014 Waste & Recycling Workers Week

There are many key evolutions throughout our history that can easily be identified as important to modern life. The ancient Egyptians using irrigation to produce crops, 11th-century China discovering movable type technology, or Louis Pasteur unlocking the principles of vaccination are common markers most of us would point to if we were asked to list what helped shape the world.

However, there is one particular advancement in world history that contributed greatly in the area of societal growth and expansion. If it weren’t for this idea, many developments in city infrastructure, public health, and environmental science would never have happened.

That breakthrough was waste management. John Arwood, CEO of Arwood Waste and second-generation garbage man, wants everyone to be talking about it and celebrating the men and women who are all vital to this industry.

Celebrate The Entire Team

Most Americans stop thinking about garbage the moment our trash hits the curb. But for many workers, both women and men all over the nation, garbage collection is only the beginning of the process. To collect, process, filter, and recycle over 250 million tons of garbage each year requires a massive team of people in hundreds of different jobs and positions working together. These men and women, according to Arwood, should be celebrated.

On June 17 – Waste and Recycling Workers Week – John D. Arwood will call for the nation to celebrate the workers in waste management because he knows the importance of what garbage men and women do for our cities on a daily basis. More than simply moving trash from one place to another, they are also pioneers in advancing technologies such as recycling, renewable and sustainable energy, and reduction of our dependence on fossil fuels. Match that with the clear impact on city cleanliness and hygiene, and it seems the modern-day garbage man should be receiving a little more than our garbage every week.

It’s A Dangerous Job

It isn’t simply because of their job description that we should be thankful to these men and women, but also because of the tremendous risks they expose themselves to on the job. According to Heather Horn’s article “The Secret World of ‘Garbagemen’,” sanitation workers have twice the fatality rates of police officers, and nearly seven times the fatality rates of firefighters. Frequent exposure to the elements, handling hazardous materials such as glass and medical waste, and attacks by dogs and pests are just some of the obstacles the average garbage worker faces.

If the natural aspects of an outside job weren’t dangerous enough, many workers have even had negative encounters with frustrated, or oblivious, members of their community. An LA Times article describes how some garbage men have been burned with battery acid, chlorine, even hot fireplace ash placed in the trash.

Show Your Support!

Arwood Waste has done an amazing job in encouraging neighbors, schools, and communities to show their appreciation for the people doing these dirty jobs. On June 17th of last year, cities around the nation showed their appreciation by baking cookies, sending cards, and buying special ‘I Love My Garbage Man’ shirts to show their appreciation. Several cities publicly voiced their support for their sanitation workers, and this year John Arwood hopes even more towns will show their support.

If you are interested in learning more about Waste & Recycling Workers Week, or how you can show your support in your city, go to www.garbagemanday.org or ‘Like’ the official Facebook page.

Article by Bruce Norris

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