A Day For Sanitation Workers


By Kassidy Lankford

NJM Correspondent

Jacksonville's First Annual Waste and Recycling Workers Week Celebration
Jacksonville’s First Annual Waste and Recycling Workers Week Celebration

NORTH JAX –– Imagine a filthy world addled with disease, dirt, grime, and infestation. A world where trash covers the streets and sludge prevails. This nightmare is a world without sanitation workers. Although they have a job that may not look pretty on the outside, it is one of the most important jobs that anyone could possibly have. Our sanitation workers take care of our community, keeping our beautiful North Jacksonville clean and happy. Without them, we would not be able to function.

John D. Arwood,  raised in Jacksonville, dedicates his life to helping the community and bringing the recognition deserved to other sanitation workers. Mr. Arwood founded Waste & Recycling Workers Week, a special time to show those in the sanitation field that they are needed, appreciated, and respected. In our community and everywhere, sanitation workers are looked down upon or looked away from all together, and Mr. Arwood wants to change this.

“I really want the North Jacksonville neighborhood to think about us,” said Mr. Arwood. “We are just as vital to the community as firemen and police officers.”

Many other waste companies and notable figures in the sanitation world are already behind Waste & Recycling Workers Week, making it their mission to make it a federally recognized holiday. Though Mr. Arwood hails from North Jacksonville, he is inviting the entire nation to celebrate Waste & Recycling Workers Week.

Sanitation workers are truly vital to our community. The Centers for Disease Control credit, in large part, the nation’s garbage men and women for eradicating many diseases in the modern world. Their work prevents us from reverting to medieval techniques to manage our waste, and because of them we are able to keep our lives clean and healthy.

In 2016, Waste & Recycling Workers Week will be celebrated the week of June 17. Some things you can do to honor our sanitation workers are give them a cold water bottle or a lunch when you see them working hard near your homes, give them an appreciation card, thank them for all of their work, or simply greet them with a smile. There are also Waste & Recycling Workers Week t-shirts available for sale. After all, if our sanitation workers took even one day off from their jobs, our world would be a very messy and unlivable place. To learn more about Waste & Recycling Workers Week, visit the website at www.garbagemanday.org. Keep your eyes on the website between now and the week of June 17th for local events surrounding Waste & Recycling Workers Week.

Mr. Arwood wants sanitation workers to be recognized on the same level of importance as police officers and firemen, because without all of them the world as we know it would be in a state of disarray. Firemen and policemen have nationally recognized holidays, and Mr. Arwood is fighting for garbage men to have the same courtesies extended to them.

Sanitation workers also help law enforcement officers. They are eyes and ears; they see a lot of things and can be an aide in crime prevention. Keeping their eyes open they can alert law enforcement to any suspicious activity, being a huge help to our police officers.

“In New York City last winter when the blizzards hit, the sanitation workers were the first people out there in the elements, shoveling snow and helping people,” said Mr. Arwood. “Same with Hurricane Katrina. Without us, the world would not be safe.”

Mr. Arwood is a second-generation sanitation worker. His father, John C. Arwood, moved his family to Florida in the 1970s and it all began from there. When Mr. John D. Arwood was a child, he recycled the aluminum cans and soda bottles he came across while riding around the community on his bicycle. It was in 1984 when the father and son pair began cleaning metal factories. They began recycling metal while offering the service to these factories of dismantling old cranes, tanks and rail systems. Other factories eventually began contacting them for cleaning services, and Arwood Waste was born.

Today, Arwood Waste is a prominent figure in the North Jacksonville community and nationwide. They offer demolition, dumpsters, site cleanup/junk removal, concrete cutting and breaking, street and parking lot sweeps, land clearing, bush hogging, portable toilets and holding tanks, asbestos removal and surveys, front load, hook lift, and roll off containers, and more.

Arwood Waste is a full service sanitation company, with services to help anyone in need of waste management. Along with their myriad serves offered, Arwood Waste has a reputation in the community. Everyone knows their name, with their signs and equipment scattered about across the North Jacksonville neighborhood and the city at large. They have been a trusted part of our community for nearly 30 years. Arwood Waste is the largest individually owned waste management and demolition company in the Southeastern United States. Arwood Waste is the largest waste management and demolition company in the Southeastern United States.

“There is Guns N’ Hoses, the competition between firemen and police officers to see who is tougher” said Mr. Arwood. “I think there should be Guns, Hoses, N’ Trash Cans. I even contacted the association and they loved the idea,” said Mr. Arwood happily. “If you ask me, I think the garbage men would prevail.”