June 17 is now Waste and Recycling Workers Week, thanks to an effort by Arwood Waste Inc. CEO John Arwood
Whether or not the day catches on with the public or gets an “official” designation from Congress remains to be seen.
Regardless, a wrong has been righted.
Amazingly, until Arwood launched his campaign, there was no day to honor sanitation workers and the public service they provide.
It’s amazing because there are already literally hundreds of strange “holidays” out there. In just the first week of June, the calendar will give us Hug Your Cat Day, National Doughnut Day, National Bubba Day, Flip a Coin Day and National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. The rest of June features days that honor jugglers, insurance professionals, beauticians, nursing assistants, Donald Duck and, of course, fathers. As it is, Waste and Recycling Workers Week will have to share June 17 with Eat Your Vegetables Day. (Luckily it just missed International Panic Day – June 18.)
Sure, a day of recognition for collection workers isn’t a crucial issue. But it isn’t completely inconsequential either. As we have urged and advocated for many times on these pages, the reputation of sanitation workers must be changed. The front-line workers need the recognition, admiration – and respect on the road – that they deserve.
Anything that inches us closer to that, no matter how seemingly trivial, we will support.
Arwood himself, the father of this holiday, isn’t planning to go overboard on June 17.
“Nothing major,” he says. He’s sending cards to his workers and urging other folks to give some cookies or a bottle of water to their collection workers. He’s also asking the public to do something significant.
“I’m thinking maybe, that we don’t take garbage men for granted. …. Walk out there and just simply thank them.”
After we succeed on June 17, the rest of the year comes next.