Councilwoman Amy Murray from Cincinnati wanted to get an inside look at the city’s garbage collection. Murray spent the day riding around with the Cincinnati’s sanitation workers to get the first-hand experience of what exactly the workers do and what goes on during the truck’s routes. Garbage collection is something that affects people’s daily lives, so with changes coming to Cincinnati, the councilwoman hopped on board to see how it is done.

“I want to know what our employees are in Cincinnati are doing for garbage collection. It’s so important and we make changes all the time,” Murray said.

The sanitation workers used to have to pick up trash cans and toss the debris into the back of the truck. It was dangerous and sometimes could result in harm or injuries to the workers. The city has since then gotten new trash cans that can be loaded up onto the truck and lifted by the truck. It is a much safer and more efficient system.

Beginning in March of 2015, the city will make another change to their trash pickup system. Garbage pickup will only be running on a 4-day week, with Fridays being reserved for the pickup of large and bulky items. The change came as a result of the city’s rule that only allows each household one can of trash. In some areas, households need more than one can to contain their weekly trash. Since the city won’t pick up more than that, people start littering, which results in the city having issues with extra garbage. Some things won’t change, such as the pick-up of specialty items. Mattresses will still need a special pick-up and residents will have to call to have that done.

The change in garbage collection plans means there will also be a change in the routes for the drivers. One of the most important things the councilwoman learned in her shadowing was to listen to those who are responsible for the trash pick-up and working the new routes: the drivers. They want to be included in the discussion of changing plans and routes. They are the ones who are out on the job every day and they understand what works and what doesn’t.

Murray learned a lot by spending a day doing exactly what the workers do, but she learned even more by listening to what the workers had to say. They know ways to make the system better, and it’s sometimes difficult to understand what they mean unless you have actually been in the situation. She will be back out on the truck in March after the new changes have been implemented so that she can have another first-hand experience with the effects the changes have had.