Overlooked Heroes: Garbage Collectors

Local News

There are a countless number of people working through the coronavirus pandemic.
Of course there are health workers, and first responders, but there are other groups that we sometimes forget.
Our Morgan Koziar spent some time with the garbage men – the one’s that work to keep our communities clean.

Out of sight out of mind. Trash is something that we all create and during this time, we’re creating even more. “With everyone being home due to the Coronavirus they’re not working and if they’re not working they’re just cleaning up and cleaning out,” says Jim Fornari, General Manager for Dutch’s Hauling.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics rates garbage collecting as the fifth most dangerous job in America. With an abundance of medical waste, like gloves and face masks… it’s not getting any safer.
Garbage collectors are potentially handling medical supplies coming out of people’s homes in quaratine.
Dutch’s Hauling has been servicing the Altoona area for years…they say covid-19 dosen’t scare them. “I deal with a lot of sitauations that people don’t want to deal with. To be honest with you it made it even busier for me” Dutch’s Hauling Owner, Jimmy Fornari says.

Trash men and women keep our communities clean touching things that most people…wouldn’t. “Cockroaches, fleas, rats, cats you name it, we’ve been in it, ” Jim says.

And for Dutch’s Hauling, it’s a family affair. With Jim being Jimmy’s son…”It’s a lifelong business, whenever they say it’s just a job, for me it’s not my job, it’s my life. it’s what i’ve been raised to do,” says Jim

Dutch’s customer Matt Feigh says he feels bad that the garbage man is typically forgotten, “we don’t think twice, you know we throw the Debbie wrapper away or the empty case of beer box you know we just toss that in the trash like, “eh! alright” we never think twice about who’s going to pick it up next or where it goes.”

So as we continute dealing with this pandemic, these employees continue working…”trash is a…it’s an essential job. We’re always there, but we’re one of the last thought of people” says Jim.

He says, a “thank you” could change that during these uncertain times.

You may be asking yourself how long this virus lives on various surfaces that you touch everyday. According to the Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 can live on surfaces for hours to days. The virus was discovered in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, and up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

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