Here’s why it’s more than a dirty job

It’s a dirty job but it’s also a lot more.

Six days a week sanitation workers travel the Coastal Bend collecting thousands of tons worth of waste from residents. Others trek the 650-acre center lot at J.C Elliot Transfer and Collection disposing and recycling waste. 

From navigating unprecedented natural disasters and the pandemic, workers have had their work cut out for them this past year. With this in mind Solid Waste Services has planned a series of events to honor employees for National Waste and Recycling Workers Week from June 17-24. 

Workers dispose of  waste at Household Hazardous  Disposal Area at J.C Elliott Transfer and Collection Center.

Sanitation workers are often at risk for injuries as they dispose of dangerous debris and harmful household chemicals such as paint, oils, and pesticides. 

“People don’t realize solid waste and recycling is within the top six most dangerous jobs in the country,” said David Lehfeldt, director of Solid Waste Services.

Throughout the pandemic, workers saw an increase in waste as residents de-cluttered and replaced appliances and electronics such as computers, televisions, and refrigerators. 

In February when Winter Storm Uri touched down in Texas, workers assisted the city in disposing of 115,000 yards of tree debris and over 700,000 pounds of dead fish.

Recycled Refrigerators sit on lot at J.C Elliot Collection Center.

Lehfeldt expressed appreciation for the company as it has had a shortage of workers.

“It has been a really heavy workload for employees, long hours and late nights,” Lehfelft said. “I really appreciate their hard work.”

This week sanitation workers will be honored with different events for their services. Planned events include tickets to a Hooks game, breakfast, and snack packs.

Additionally, yard cards with a message commemorating workers will be installed at the Solid Waste Department located at 2525 Hygeia and will be kept up until Friday, June 18.

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