Following a very long COVID deployment, my business was sitting at a standstill, and I was looking for ways to fill cash shortfall. In my search I found a job listed a “Trash Valet” with an hourly rate of $30 hourly. At first, I laughed because it felt like they had come up with a politically correct title, instead of calling it a garbage man. I soon found out that a Trash Valet is an actual thing, so I applied thinking that pay rate was not so bad. I received a call rather quickly, and it was explained to me that the rate was listed wrong in the ad, and that it was actually $15 hourly, but he was desperate and agreed to $20. I agreed to give it a try and he wanted me to start that night at 8 pm. The catch was that I needed to have my own truck, which I do, however, there was no mention of any incentive for using a personal vehicle.
It was not long into the evening when I realized that this was not going to be for me, especially after my truck was littered with unknown smelly liquids. It was even more convincing that this was not for me, when all these strange liquids started getting all over me. The work was never ending, going up and down stairwells, carrying heavy bags of trash, loading them into my truck, then loading them into the compactor. I think the most amazing thing about this night, was just how much trash was being generated by this apartment complex. I believe between the two trucks, we probably had 30 full loads to pick up and throw in the compactor. Not only was there a tremendous amount of trash to pick up, but there were mounds of trash dumped around the compactor by the residents. Mind you, this was just one day’s worth of trash; now imagine this for all 7 days of the week! I decided not to return the next night.
This story has obviously started with why I was only a Trash Valet for one day, but I also want to make another point about trash. The more trash I picked up, the more the voice in my head kept saying, “We are killing the planet!” I began to imagine how much trash was being generated by the city I live in, especially based on the amount of trash being generated at just one apartment complex. Then my mind began to look at the exponential amount of that my state, country and the world must be generating daily. I was beginning to get very overwhelmed and almost sick to my stomach, and not just from all the wonderful new smells that I was being introduced to. My next thought was, where does all this trash go and what do we really do with it all? Unfortunately, most of our trash are items that are non-biodegradable and are not going to be broken down by nature. My thoughts continued to the fact that there did not seem to be any recycling being done at this apartment complex; and to knowing that many trash companies simply take recycling to the dump, because it is too expensive to recycle.
The population of our planet has truly become consumers and wasters of our natural resources. We have become obsessed with convenience and the greed of having more and more stuff. I am not point fingers, because I am also part of the problem; we all are part of the problem, even people who try to do the right thing are still contributing to the death of this planet. We have gotten ourselves onto a hamster wheel that would seem to be difficult, at best, to ever get off of. I guess I can understand now why those in power are looking at GMO foods, and other clever processes, to try and get some of this waste decreased, and plan for the demise of the earth to truly grow food naturally. At what point is our waste going to outrun our consuming? If we are not careful, we may find that the earth is going to become so tainted, that we can never truly return to our roots, even if we wanted to.
I can assure you that this one night of being a trash guy, has really made me realize that I need to do a better job when it comes to how I purchase, consume, and waste. Sometimes it can be as simple as not grabbing bottled water, and simply use a cup to consume water from the tap. There are certainly many ways that we can reduce our footprint on this earth, and this must start with us all individually, then on to the collective effort. I know that this sounds simplistic, but I know the reality, and unless everyone decides to become earth friendly, we are going to continue down a path of destroying the place we call home – our earth. Let’s all do something to help out, even if it is simple. Imagine if 10 billion people all did something simple each day to work on this problem, that would go a long way to helping out mother earth.