Five reasons to love your recycling driver | Guest editorial

What are some reasons to love your local recycling driver?

Michelle Metzler Courtesy photo

Michelle Metzler Courtesy photo

How sweet it is! February is the month for love, for reminding friends and family just how much we care.

But what about the folks who aren’t “top of mind” — the people who quietly go about their jobs, making our lives and our neighborhoods better?

That’s right, I’m talking about your local recycling driver. What’s to love? Let’s count the ways:

1. She’s reliable. She knows when you expect her and she arrives like clockwork. (Even your mother doesn’t visit every week!)

2. He’s always looking out for you. Waste Management drivers are trained to observe and report anything unusual along their routes through a program called Waste Watch. Take Kirkland driver David Salts, for instance. Salts makes time to help his customers with a lot more than their curbside carts. When a customer in Rose Hill lost her husband, Salts stepped in to help by mowing the lawn and taking care of other odds and ends, even bringing a fresh fuchsia bouquet on Mother’s Day.

3. She’s your Recycle Often Recycle Right partner. Your driver is your ally for making sure materials make it to the right carts. If you’ve ever come home to find a note fastened to your cart, you know what I mean. Like that time your kids put a plastic bag full of recyclables in the recycling. Chances are, your eagle-eyed driver caught it, and left you a reminder. (For next time, no bagged recyclables in the recycling! It’s important to place recyclables loose in your container so Waste Management can sort them properly. Need more tips on how to “clean up” your recycling? Check out RecycleOftenRecycleRight.com)

4. He’s all about clean air and quieter streets for Kirkland. Yes, that shiny green truck is powered by natural gas, so the engine runs cleaner and quieter for a smaller carbon footprint. That’s an important part of why your driver and the WM fleet won the 2017 Best Performance award from the Western Washington Clean Cities program.

5. She’s a role model in the community. Take driver Lindsey Leitch as an example. Leitch’s hard work has earned big smiles and encouragement from her community, including the title “hero” from a girl along her route who dreams of one day driving a shiny green truck. More women are in the driver’s seat these days and are proud to help their communities and the environment.

So, during the month when we show loved ones just how much we care, let’s add recycling drivers to our “lovable people” lists — for everything they do to keep our communities clean, green and safe.

Michelle Metzler is the recycling education & outreach manager for Waste Management. Learn more at sustainability.wm.com.

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