If you happen to peek at our calendar, you’ll notice that we’ve circled the upcoming date of June 17th. “What date is that?” you may wonder, why it’s National Garbage Man Day, of course!
The concept behind this “holiday” was initiated by John D. Arwood, himself a second generation garbage man and presently the CEO of Arwood Waste, a private waste management company based out of Jacksonville, Florida. National Garbage Man Day was observed last year for the first time, and preparations for this year’s celebration are in full swing. Through the use of various print and social media campaigns, people across America are being encouraged to mark the date by conveying their appreciation to their garbage collectors, whether by supplying them with a cold drink, a plate of cookies, or by a expressing a simple thank you.
Cynics may choose to deem this holiday as frivolous and unnecessary, but upon some research and reflection, it becomes clear that it would be appropriate to give some credit to the hardworking men and women who take care of our trash. While for most of us, the process of garbage removal entails simply depositing the trash can on the curb prior to the designated collection days, these hardworking folks are left with the dirty work, pun intended. Their occupation is always grueling and often perilous, in fact garbage collection has consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous jobs in America, with upwards of 30 work related
One of the main causes of work related injuries to garbage men are vehicle collisions. Garbage men are constantly jumping on and off the truck, while dodging traffic which often consists of annoyed and angry drivers. (Yes, we’ve all been there, rushing to get our kids to school in time for class and then getting stuck behind a slow moving garbage truck. Argh!) Garbage men and women are is constant risk of being struck while on the job, and though they exercise caution, accidents do happen.
Another dangerous aspect of the job is dealing with the various hazardous materials that people carelessly discard. Broken glass and medical waste are among the various dangerous items that garbage men come into contact with. Additionally, the trash cans are often accompanied by groups of vermin such as rats and roaches, and while live ones can bite unsuspecting workers, the dead ones often carry and spread infectious diseases. Considering these risks, coupled with the other more obvious difficulties of the job such as long hours, intense physical labor and dealing with the dreadful odors, we hope you’ll circle June 17th too, and take the time to salute your local garbage men and women.