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Next week: perfect time to say thank you to waste collectors


June 14-20 is National Waste and Recycling Workers Week: A great time to say thank you to the men and women who staff the City of Las Cruces Utilities Department (LCU) Solid Waste, picking up garbage and trash, especially since their volume of work has increased dramatically since more people began staying home and cleaning houses, garages, yards and storerooms during the state emergency orders.

As the Bulletin reported last week, Green Grappler pickups went from 772 in February to 1,658 in April; Regular Grappler pickups went from 1,602 in February to 3,199 in April; residential solid waste rose from 2,257 tons collected in February to 2,936 tons in April. Commercial tonnage went down, but LCU put out three temporary containers the last week of April that were emptied 21 times in six days, collecting 50 tons of trash. And this was all done with the same number of staff.

So, how do you say “thank you” to LCU employees during a time of social distancing and limited personal contact, especially when much of their work is done before many get up in the morning? LCU Deputy Director Robin Lawrence (RL) had some input:

Bulletin: What kinds of items could be left out for the Grappler guys and/or for the trash collectors?

RL: During our current situation, we are, of course minimizing contact. One idea might be making giant cards or posters saying thank you that could be placed in the yard or near the trash containers.

Bulletin: When would be a good time for this recognition?

RL: It just so happens that National Waste & Recycling Workers Week (formerly National Garbage Man Day) is the week of June 14-20. (Here are a couple of links that explain what this is about and how it originated:  www.waste360.com/business/national-garbage-man-day-gets-official-name-change and www.daysoftheyear.com/days/garbage-man-day.) We pick up trash once a week at every residence and business; days vary by the areas of the city; Grappler services are offered once a month on residential accounts on a designated day on the same day their trash is picked up. We have an online lookup for Grappler service days by address: www.externalforms.las-cruces.org/Grappler/Grappler.

Bulletin: What time should items (trash, recyclables and thank you messages) be left out?

RL: Trash containers and grappler items may be set out the night before, on the street against the curb, but must be out by 6 a.m. the day of service.

Bulletin: Just in case our readers are wondering, what items can be left for grappler pickup and what can’t, how they should be sized, arranged, etc.?

RL: Our website (www.las-cruces.org/186/Solid-Waste-Collections) has various information related to our services: 1) information on what size containers are available; 2) When to put containers out, where to place them, how to place them, and other items related to “trash etiquette”; 3) What is not allowed in containers; and 4) How much/what types of items can be left out for the Grappler or Green Grappler (for example: All Grappler and Green Grappler items should be placed at the curb, should be at least five feet away from all other items and obstacles such as any other trash, furniture, trash containers, cars, trees and mailboxes). Also visit www.las-cruces.org/1377/Grappler-Services.

For more information, contact Lawrence at 575-528-3700 or rlawrence@las-cruces.org.