Jeff Humphrey

Garbage Collectors Still Making Their Rounds

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Friday, April 3, 2020 at 3:09 p.m.

Many of us are taking new precautions. We’re postponing important projects and events. Distancing ourselves from places and people, we love.

However, a lot of City of Spokane employees are still coming to work so they can continue to provide us with essential services.

Marc Myhre has noticed an increase in the amount of residential garbage he’s collecting.

“Everybody is staying home right now, nobody is going to restaurants. Kids are away from school, so we’re getting a lot more stuff in the residential areas right now,” Myhre said.

Myhre is seeing more household garbage but less of his colleagues. He’s getting memos instead of attending morning meetings. He’s eating his meals behind the wheel of his truck instead of in the lunchroom.

That’s because social distancing helps keep employees healthy so collectors can keep on making our trash disappear, right on schedule.

“It’s critical in our minds, and I think public health officials in general, that we collect garbage from homes and businesses. There’s a risk of turning one health crisis into another by not having sanitary conditions in our neighborhoods,” explained Dustin Bender, Solid Waste Collection Manager for the City of Spokane.

A woman named Saundra is glad to see Myhre in her neighborhood. For Saundra, it’s a reminder the City is still committed to protecting the public’s health and welfare.

“He does a wonderful job. He makes sure the cans are empty and back vertical so I don’t have to try and pick them back up. He does really well on the service end,” said Saundra.

On this particular South Hill route, Myhre collected garbage from more than 880 homes. Myhre’s customers seem to appreciate his consistency during these uncertain times.

“Tuesday, some kids put up a sign up in the South Altamont Loop, thanking us for picking up their garbage. They made a nice homemade sign,” Myhre said with a smile.

Myhre takes the garbage he’s collected and dumps it on the tipping floor of the Waste to Energy Plant.

In another nod to sanitation, most of our garbage is incinerated the same day we leave it on the curb.

“We’re city-owned so it’s nice to provide the service to our customers. So we’re trying to go out of our way to make sure they are getting their money’s worth for what they are paying for,” pledged Myhre.

Myhre’s last duty at the end of each shift is running his rig through an industrial-strength car wash.

That way, his truck is more sanitary and will smell better the next time Myhre is in your neighborhood.

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