Liz Swafford: Monday is Garbage Man Appreciation Day
By Liz Swafford[email protected]
Garbage truck drivers and collectors, recycling workers, landfill operators and attendants, sanitation workers and anyone who performs the jobs that help keep our communities clean and safe should be celebrated on Monday. Monday marks Waste and Recycling Workers Week, a grassroots initiative to highlight the importance of waste management professionals and recognize the hard-working men and women that play a vital role in maintaining the cleanliness and health of our neighborhoods.
Waste and Recycling Workers Week was established by John D. Arwood, a second generation garbage man and CEO of Arwood Waste in Jacksonville, Fla. He launched a website to support the new holiday at garbagemanday.com. On the official site you’ll find ways to celebrate, a comprehensive history of garbage collection and a link to their page on Facebook.
“Garbage men are looked down upon,” Arwood said in a recent article. “You usually see a garbage man or garbage truck and you’re like ‘Get out of the road.’ You’re aggravated with them. They’re there every week. They’re doing a service for the community. To me, they should be recognized as much as a policeman, a fireman or any other public servant that’s exposed out there in the streets.”
The holiday is not yet official nationwide, but the state of Florida, individual communities and organizations around the country have officially recognized it for this year. One of those organizations is SWANA, the Solid Waste Association of North America, the leading professional association in the solid waste field. Visit swana.org and click on the banner that reads “Show your appreciation and celebrate Waste & Recycling Workers Week.” There you’ll find a list of ways to show your support, and even some custom coloring pages for children.
SWANA Executive Director and CEO John Skinner recently stated, “At SWANA, we want to embrace every opportunity to advance public awareness about the important work performed by solid waste professionals in our communities week after week. Through this campaign everyone can do something small to make a big impact on someone’s day by acknowledging the work they do.”
So how do you go about celebrating Waste and Recycling Workers Week? Well, it’s as easy as coming out to the curb to tell the garbage collector and recycling collector that stop by your house every week to pick up your trash and recyclables, “Thank you!” If you go to one of four convenience centers in Whitfield County to dispose of your garbage, take a moment to give the attendant a high five. A simple show of appreciation goes a long way for those people that work behind the scenes day to day to keep our community clean.
Here are some more ideas from the Waste and Recycling Workers Week and SWANA websites so you can participate this coming Monday:
• Share on Facebook: Like the official page at facebook.com/GarbageManDay and remind your friends and family of the sometimes unseen people in our lives who deserve thanks.
• Cookies, water: Consider meeting your provider with a thank you treat like cookies or a cold bottle of water.
• Thank you card, coloring sheet: Tape a thank you card to your recycling bin or trash can. Or print out a coloring sheet from SWANA.org and have your kids color it and also tape it to a bin.
• Join the recycling effort: Reduce the amount of waste in your garbage can by reusing, recycling and composting. If you recycle already, make the recycling collector’s job easier by sorting your recycling better. If you have one bin, place paper on the bottom and containers on top. For two bins, place paper in one and containers in the other.
• Call it in: Call the offices of your local waste providers to say thank you and share your appreciation for all the times employees do their job well. In the city you can call the Dalton Public Works Department at (706) 278-7077. For the county convenience centers call the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority at (706) 277-2545. For the city of Varnell call the sanitation department at (706) 852-2201.
Liz Swafford is the recycling and education program coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. Have questions about recycling in Whitfield County? Call (706) 278-5001 or email [email protected]