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I’ve always had the greatest respect for the guys who drive the trash truck.  They often get a raw deal when it comes to public opinion;  much of their work goes unnoticed because people are busy doing other things and they take it for granted that trash pickup just happens.  At Toolmonger we know it doesn’t “just happen” — many dedicated men and women get up at the crack of dawn and bust ass to make it seem that way.

Reader Fredboness posted up this great video of the modern trash truck. Two of these trucks come around every week –- one for trash and the other for recycling.  The days of guys hanging off the back snatching cans may be numbered, but the giant, can-grabbing arm has got to be fun to play with. The funny part is that everyone who happens to catch a glimpse of them doing their thing will always watch the arm in action at least once.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]

 

13 Responses to An Unsung Hero

  1. Jim German says:

    I have no respect for these guys. I pay a fortune for them to either lazily drive by with the truck and hit the button (for the recycling), twice having broken the bin by driving off before it was out of the gripper. Or other wise I have to pray that they will be in a good mood and take the trash I put out and not leave my cans in the middle of the street, to be run over by some cars. The mess they leave behind is unbelievable, it looks like a tornado went through the neighborhood an hour after they are done.

  2. Mike47 says:

    I doubt these guys are paid much for what they do. It’s not glamorous, either. How they go home each day with any sense of self-accomplishment is hard to imagine. If they do a good job, they deserve a wave and our good thoughts. It doesn’t cost a thing for that.

  3. Fred Boness says:

    Cities that still have people lifting trash cans have high workmans’ comp expenses for their injured trash haulers. On that basis, trash hauling is more hazardous than police or fire service.

    Once you get past the initial cost of trucks and special containers the system operates economically and safely. It’s a big win for everyone.

  4. Dano says:

    The guys who pump out septic tanks or port-o potties have it the worst. These guys have it so easy.

  5. george says:

    our guys do a great job. do extra at times and to me have been friendly.

  6. Coach James says:

    I have a friend that owns a septic pumping business. Actually it’s just him and his truck. 2008 income…$165,000. He averages 6 jobs a day at $110 per job and works 50 weeks a year. Plus a lot of his income is in cash.

  7. FredB says:

    The smell of money as the saying goes…

  8. Mr.Miz says:

    It’s hard not to be frustrated with these guys at times. My only problem with them is that they usually forget me once a month, and if I have a bunch of huge cardboard boxes from all the wonderful tools I buy, they just leave them and never get out of the truck. I recently found an Instructable that shows how to make materials out of cardboard so I should be cutting back, but they could at least hop out of the truck and grab a few boxes. Trash on a whole is a bigger problem than what these guys are getting paid for, but never getting out of the truck isn’t exactly good customer service.

  9. Patrick says:

    I just want to ride on the back of one just once. I have never seen a garbageman (nor have I ever seen a garbage woman…I might have, but I could not positively identify her as woman…) having a bad time while on the back of a truck, even in traffic. Big ol’ stoned smiles.

  10. Kif says:

    If guys in “waste management” are so underpaid, why do they wear gold jewelry with their jogging suits and drive Town Cars?

  11. Coach James says:

    According to facfarm.com, garbage man pay for three cities averages:

    $80,000 in New York City
    $48,000 in Milwaukee, Wis.
    $35,000 in Pensacola, Fla.

    In our city, they start at about $12 an hour plus benefis.

  12. Mister Mike says:

    Want to know the real story of trash? Go read:

    Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte
    ISBN-10: 031615461X

    She explains all the details on the how and why of TRASH and the people who handle it in America. And these people deserve respect for the work they do for us. Garbage is already a major problem here but go look at the places in the world that have no civic sanitation. A lot of those mountains of garbage come from the crap our country offloads to foreign countries.

  13. Dexm says:

    I remember the days of the guy swinging on the back of the truck when I was a kid.

    My parents used to give them a case of beer at Christmas 🙂

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