Why you should appreciate the dedicated trash collectors who keep our neighborhoods clean

By Caroline Ask, Solid Waste Division Manager

We conceal our weekly trash in containers that are collected by people in an elusive, mysterious truck. They are so efficient that we rarely give them a second thought.

Solid Waste collection is a dirty and often thankless job, but it’s an essential service that helps preserve our entire community’s health and well-being by keeping our streets and neighborhoods clean and safe.

The job’s monumental scope is impressive. Each week, the Solid Waste Division’s 36 employees service 28,000 single-family homes, 11,000 multi-family units, and 1,300 commercial entities. They work 10 hours a day, six days a week.

Typical workdays are challenging, humbling, and physically demanding. Workers’ bodies take a beating as they jump on and off trucks and lift heavy unwanted furniture, over-packed containers, and tree limbs. Gritty crew members willingly tolerate the intense heat of Texas summers and the severe cold of winters. 

Sprains, strains, and overexertion from repetitive stress are just part of the grind.

They must also overcome mental exhaustion. Collectors are constantly wary of distracted drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists while enduring a daily slew of impatient motorists honking their horns.

And the garbage never stops coming.

As part of National Waste and Recycling Workers Week, we recognize our hard-working employees and offer our sincere appreciation for their steadfast dedication to our city’s residents and businesses. Our superhuman crew members are an invaluable piece of the fabric that holds our community together and enables it to function.

They’re committed to making garbage day your favorite day of the week.

<strong><em><span class="has-inline-color has-medium-gray-color">About the Blogger</span></em></strong>
About the Blogger

Caroline Ask is in her fourth year with the city and her first as the solid waste division manager. She has also served as an engineering program specialist, environmental inspector, and environmental compliance and recycling manager. Caroline previously held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences from A&M in 2012.

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