Have you ever thought about what people did with their garbage before the modern day garbage truck, complete with hydraulic lift? And before landfills? Well, until the population boom around the turn of the century, people took care of their own waste by burying it or burning it.
Today, Solid Waste workers start at daybreak, working in any kind of weather, lifting bulk loads of trash, driving and riding garbage trucks through daily traffic and enduring odors from discarded waste and debris. And Waste & Recycling Workers Week was established as a way to recognize their efforts.
The City of St. Augustine hopes the community will take some time this week to celebrate our very own Solid Waste Superheroes. It doesn’t take much – wave at a passing truck in your neighborhood, or take a selfie with your driver… maybe offer the crew a cold bottle of water, or call the Solid Waste office (904.825.1049) and tell them about the great job your neighborhood collectors are doing.
Solid waste haulers rank third on the list of riskiest jobs in the United States, behind commercial fishing and timber cutting, according to a study by the Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, at the University of Miami.
Physically, our solid waste workers endure sprains, strains, heat exhaustion, physical overexertion and the risk of exposure to potentially hazardous materials. An even bigger threat is distracted motorists, who speed past solid waste trucks and workers, or cause accidents because they don’t see the trucks and workers stopped at the side of a neighborhood curb.
It was Benjamin Franklin who created the first street cleaning service in 1757. The Public Health Act of 1875 created a formal waste collection authority, which required household bins be full at each curbside pickup.
Our crews are customer service driven and they are here to keep our City sanitary, beautiful and safe! Let’s show them our appreciation. And remember, solid waste collection runs every day of the year – except Christmas Day!