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Danny Somerville doesn't like the term 'garbage man.'
"The job is so much more than that," said the truck driver for Environmental 360 Solutions when we caught up with him on a Tuesday on Terrace Drive.
"E360 picks up not just garbage, but recycling and yard waste. I'm a driver operator who drives through your neighbourhood with one hand on the joystick to maneuver the hydraulic arm to grab the bin and tip it into the truck."
The hydraulic arm has been a game changer in the curbside pickup business, automating much of the process so there are no longer people hand chucking the contents of containers into trucks.
On any given day, Somerville will tip bins for 1,200 homes.
The 22 bright-yellow trucks E360 has out daily will pick up about 160,000 kilograms of garbage, recycling and yard waste.
"What I like about this job is the good pay and it's recession and COVID-proof," said Somerville.
"I'm alone in the truck doing my job. The garbage, recycling and yard waste continued to get picked up all through the pandemic. We didn't miss a day."
E360 has noticed a 25% increase in materials put out for residential curbside pick up since COVID hit in March.
People are spending more time at home, generating additional garbage and recycling, and tending to their yards, resulting in extra yard waste.
What Somerville doesn't like about the job some days is icy conditions in the winter or dust and odour in the summer.
He jokes the challenges are seasonal, because garbage in the winter is generally frozen and doesn't stink.
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