Media Contact: Cathy Hall - Landfill Manager
A contingent of front-line employees who may have been taken for granted during the COVID-19 shutdown in Pitkin County and around the world are being recognized on National Garbage Man Appreciation Day on Wednesday, June 17th. Pitkin County Commissioners will read a proclamation into the permanent record honoring the men and women who diligently collect our trash and recycling week after week.
“Trash and recycling is something we don’t put a lot of thought into, said Pitkin County Landfill Manager, Cathay Hall. It goes to the curb or the dumpster and at some point, during the day it magically disappears. This service has continued without missing a beat during the biggest public health crisis in the past 100 years. It’s especially important that we recognize our garbage men and women this year,” Hall said.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, trash and recycling collectors rank 5 out of 10 on the list of fatal job injuries. Solid waste workers often deal with bears and angry raccoons who have had an easy meal disturbed, distracted drivers, and potentially dangerous situations from improperly disposed of hazardous waste.
With the recent stay-at-home orders and businesses being ordered to close to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19, solid waste services were deemed essential, and commercial trash and recycling services continued uninterrupted.
The Pitkin County Solid Waste Center handles approximately 62,000 tons of trash and recycling annually. Improperly disposed of trash can cause harm to human health and the environment and solid waste workers are on the front line of making sure it gets to the right place.
“Handling trash and recycling is hard and oftentimes smelly work, but a lot of people working in this industry love what they do; it’s an extraordinarily satisfying job and it’s a service that would definitely be noticed if it suddenly stopped,” said Hall.
Pitkin County encourages citizens to take a moment to recognize your solid waste management professionals; leave a note of thanks, give them a socially distant high five or a friendly wave, slow down and pay close attention when maneuvering around trash trucks, and make sure what you are putting in the trash or recycling belongs there and is not potentially harmful to those people handling it.