Cleaning up: Employees pitch in to pick up trash

It was all-hands-on-deck this week as the City of Temple’s Solid Waste Division put in extra work to catch up after Winter Storm Uri put a hold on garbage and recycling pickup.

“With the help of vehicles and trailers from other departments, the Solid Waste management team was able to assist with the overload of trash as a result of the winter storm,” Solid Waste Director Justin Brantley said.

Following the storm, residents were advised to place excess trash bags next to their garbage cans. Solid waste route operators would then empty the can into the truck before getting out and loading the extra trash bags.

To help lessen the load on staff, Brantley, along with Recycling Manager Heather Caldwell and other department employees set out with pickups and trailers to collect the extra bags.

“The need is there because of the extra bags. If we can get those, then the drivers can stay in the trucks and just dump the cans,” Caldwell said. “The weights are exponentially more in each neighborhood, so the drivers are taking more time driving back and forth from the landfill because they are filling up.”

Brantley said the entire division has pitched in to take some of the burden off solid waste route drivers.

“The Solid Waste Department of 60 services over 76000 residents,” he said. “So for all other aspects of solid waste, including maintenance and management, we will pitch in to take care of our city.”.

Though employees might be in a slightly different role than usual, Caldwell said they’re willing to do what needs to be done for the benefit of the community.

“The trash needs to be collected, we need to get it, and our staff has stepped up,” Brantley said. “We want to serve the community as quickly and safely as possible.”