This may seem like a departure for me from writing about “professional job designations” as the Job Savvy Blogger but it isn’t really. I have always regarded people who work for a salary as “professionals” – not just those with post-secondary training.

This blog will talk about a dirty, un-appreciated job labelled among the Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in Canada. Traditionally, it was probably filled by unskilled workers with not a lot of education but today it is well-compensated and protected by contracts. I am talking about Garbage, Recycling and Yard Waste Collectors. It takes more than brawn and a strong back to fill these important positions in our community.

Rather than disrespect for these workers, let’s show them respect and appreciation for the work they do to keep our streets clean and neat. I have seen many people stuff their black plastic garbage bags full of objects that should be disposed of in other ways. Electrical wires, chemicals, paint cans, unwrapped broken glass, insulation, upholstered cushions from chairs and sofas, plastic foot stools. These are just a few examples. These bags are frequently overweight and necessitate the collector having to stop and attach a tag notifying the culprit of his or her misdemeanour.

Overweight (23 kg. or 50lbs.) and hard to reach garbage and recycling containers can hurt collectors too. One bend the wrong way and picking up heavy waste can hurt even the strongest back. This can be a tricky business in the winter when snow banks are high so one needs to be cognisant of where best to put garbage and recycling on collection day. It is natural to want to get rid of it but it maybe it would be better to wait for another day. Plows and cars need to pass and often they do not slow down until the garbage truck has moved on. Starting and stopping on icy roads and shoulders is tricky even for cars.

Paper, including recyclables from the loo, need to be kept separate from plastics, cans and bottles in blue boxes. We are told to flatten cardboard boxes, put papers in untied plastic bags, remove hard covers from books (that’s work) but you can donate them. Judging from the shelves at Value Village and Vinnie’s people in Peterborough are great readers. To carry on, egg cartons, paper inner tubes, office paper, newspapers and magazines should be flattened. I love to step on them. Clear and coloured glass bottles and jars are o.k. but please wash them a bit.

Finally, “be respectful”. If you wouldn’t want to pick up your garbage and recycling don’t pack it that way. I was once told by a man who had started his career as a garbage collector that the average “life” for a collector is about five years. As human beings we share a responsibility for each other.


The Job Savvy Blogger