Prince William, VA, May 18, 2020 –Prince William County residents, businesses and organizations are encouraged to celebrate National Waste and Recycling Workers Week, June 14-20. Formerly National Garbage Man Day, it is the brainchild of John Arwood, an owner of a waste and recycling collection company in Florida. He selected June 17 and it officially started in 2013. According to an article published in Waste Advantage, May 2017, Arwood notes that the day was recognized with its first proclamation by Prince William County, VA in 2014.
Hundreds of proclamations later, National Garbage Man Day was rebranded in 2020 as National Waste and Recycling Workers Week. Although the name has changed to better represent the whole solid waste industry, the focus of appreciation and celebration of the entire industry has not. Additionally, instead of one day there is now an entire week, which gives communities, companies, and organizations more time to recognize the importance of solid waste management industry and particularly their trash and recycling collectors’ vital contributions to public health.
Trash and recycling collection are a critical and essential service and part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The men and women working in the waste and recycling industry are on the frontlines protecting human health and the environment.
In addition to collecting trash, the employees of the solid waste industry are also pioneers in advancing technologies such as recycling, renewable and sustainable energy, and fossil fuels dependence reduction. Match that with the clear impact on city cleanliness and hygiene, and it seems the modern-day waste and recycling workers should receive a little more than our trash every week.
Even though the annual celebratory recognition of collection company employees at the landfill is not possible, there are many ways that residents and businesses can show support and appreciation during the week of June 14-20 and beyond for the people doing these important, but dangerous jobs.
Other tips to help keep collection workers safe during the COVID crisis:
To learn more about National Waste and Recycling Workers Week, and how you can show your support, go https://www.wasterecyclingworkersweek.org/. You can also send your celebration ideas and photos to PWCRecycles@pwcgov.org.