Closing Out The Holiday

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, December 26, 2010

According to a Use Less Stuff report, Americans throw away 25percent more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holidayseason than any other time of the year. That equates to 25 millionmore tons of garbage than normal.

With all the shopping done in Homeseekers Paradise during theholiday season, it is sure to make the town a less tidy place. Assuch, officials expect to see a trash increase of 40 percent forMonday’s roundup when garbage pick-up resumes.

“There’s a lot of it out there,” said Randy Clark, site manager forWaste Management, Inc. “We make a lot of trash.”

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Like the lingering scent after Christmas dinner, crinkled and tornwrapping paper reminds holiday participants of the recentfestivities.

However, the memory remains until gloved knights on iron horsebackretrieve toy casings and decorative paper from the ends ofdriveways, which can amount to a heavy load of work.

“Monday and Tuesday are going to be a killer,” said Clark. “We askpeople to be patient with us, we’re going to get it all.”

On a normal Monday, Clark said crews will collect 24 tons of waste.Last year, trash collections after Christmas totaled 42 tons ofgarbage and then another 36 tons in the next gathering.

“I expect more than last year,” said Clark. “I have been doing thisfor 20 years, and I haven’t been wrong yet.”

As a way to judge the work to come, Clark said he looks at theamount of real turkey-day leftovers.

“I’ve always used Thanksgiving as an indicator,” said Clark. “Ifyou have a heavy Thanksgiving, everyone usually has a very merryChristmas.”

As bags twinkle down the streets like Christmas lights, the WasteManagement crews will be tossing up to 12 tons of garbage per loadin the back of their trucks without any special equipment and justsix people working the city routes.

“We start out with a safety briefing that morning and it’s elbowsall the way through the day,” said Clark. “We hardly ever take abreak.”

However, this year collectors will get to rest before having todive straight into work. Since Santa Claus visited good childrenFriday, the holiday was not celebrated until Saturday – givingworkers all week to gather Christmas remains.

“We’re going to be blessed with collecting garbage on a weekend,”said Clark. “All five days to get (trash) up makes it a whole lotbetter.”

Clark also mentioned that those willing to spread a little belatedChristmas cheer could do so by ripping up any boxes andcontainerizing all trash, which would allow the truck to properlycompact the garbage.

“If anybody wanted to be nice and help us, that would be sweet,”said Clark. “We can continue down the road and get it all out ofthe way.”

The site manager also said that safety is of top concern as theysling around mounds of garbage and mechanically dispose of trash.He requests that children wanting to race their new Christmaspresents not do so against the garbage truck.

“We had a lot of the kids out in the road last year,” said Clark.”We’d hate to see anybody get hurt.”

When little snowy villages go back in their boxes and certain songsare paused for the next 11 months, the garbage collection can beseen as the closing sign on the holiday season.

“We’ll make that part of the holiday go away,” said Clark. “Nobodylikes their trash but us, we love it.”

The next big day for trash collectors will be New Year’s, but WasteManagement will be given one of their three holidays off.

Not to mention – bottles are recyclable.