After more than 30 years in the business, John Arwood has encountered a lot of waste haulers. And he knows they are hardworking individuals dedicated to keeping their towns and cities clean and serving their customers well. That’s why he has launched a campaign to establish June 17 as National Garbage Man’s Day.
“I see a common thread in this business: People in this field are passionate about trash,” says Arwood, the owner of Arwood Waste in Jacksonville, Fla. That passion shines through in Arwood’s daily conversations with owners and employees of waste companies across the country as they place ads on his waste marketing websites, 123 Dumpster Rental and Discount Dumpster Shop. And “they should be honored for the contribution they make to better their cities,” he says.
To launch this special day on a national scale, Arwood has created a website, garbagemanday.com, and is working on a Wikipedia entry. At the local level he plans to honor his employees with a company party and hopes to involve the city government to help educate the community about the importance of sanitation workers.
Many consumers don’t realize the consequences that would accompany the waste management industry taking a day off, says Arwood. He says the country would quickly revert back to medieval waste management practices, such as tossing buckets of sewage off balconies, throwing household trash along the sidewalks, or unleashing pigs in the streets to eat up the filth. Local governments and waste industry leaders can work together to help consumers realize that the waste industry is focused not only on hauling away unwanted items, but also on preserving the environment, recycling manufacturing byproducts, and finding ways to reuse items that were once thrown away.
By making consumers aware of the conservation efforts of garbage collectors, Arwood hopes they will join in the celebration of those who do their dirty work. His website encourages readers to use June 17 to “bake your friendly neighborhood garbage man some cookies, leave him or her a tip, or go ahead and give your landfill attendant a high five.”
Arwood hopes that other waste management professionals will join him in promoting National Garbage Man’s Day, not only by honoring their employees but also by soliciting local government officials for support. “Collecting garbage is a profession that is often taken for granted, but it wouldn’t be a pretty place without us,” Arwood says. “I’d like to see local municipalities celebrating these unspoken heroes that do a job that often goes thankless.”
Nancy Mann Jackson is a contributing writer based in Florence, Ala.