Winter blues: Trash hauling hassles

Many of us have the winter blues by now with all of the snow, rain and ice. That includes those who haul away our trash. From frozen trash cans and driveways, to slick and dangerous conditions, and even trouble finding your trash, this winter has been challenging for trash collectors.

“Back to back snow storms, no place to put the snow, the guys are just dealing with unreal conditions out on the roads,” said Residential Supervisor for Penn Waste, Andy Raffensberger. “We know residents don’t want piles and piles of trash piling up, but there are some areas we haven’t been able to gain access to for some time. Tight alleyways are hard to get plowed, with the amount of snow that is piled up, cars are encroaching into the streets. So our trucks can’t get through, and if they are getting through its very, very tight. So we’re worried about slipping and sliding into vehicles.”

The huge snow banks everywhere aren’t helping. “It presents challenges with getting to the cans, if residents put cans behind the snow banks, on their sidewalks, we are either climbing on the snow banks, reaching over the snow banks, sometimes there’s bags and cans on top of the snow banks. So we’re dragging things around, over and through,” said Raffensberger.

Wednesday’s rainy, soggy weather isn’t something most people enjoy working in, but Penn Waste loader, Ryan Ahalt has seen a lot worse, especially this winter. “All the snow, all the ice, it’s been tough. Sometimes you can’t see the trash, especially the white bag, when it’s in the snow obviously it’s camouflaged and we drive right past them. People put trash cans behind snow banks,” said Ahalt.

Businesses
Trash collection at some businesses has been affected by the weather too. “Business to business our front load and roll off side is dealing with even worse conditions, because of parking lots or the corrals get plowed in, they can’t access the cans. So we have big businesses that aren’t getting their service, that we want to give them, but we just can’t get through or can’t get access to the areas that we need,” said Raffensberger.

You can help

Raffensberger says businesses and the public can help. “Open up those corrals so those front load guys can get in there, and get those dumpsters cleaned out for you. Residents can do the same thing, you know, give us a good spot to get to your trash cans and bins, and we can get you. As long as we can get down the road we can get you taken care of.”

Ahalt agrees. “It helps when people shovel out their cans so we can get to them easier, and move their cars out of the way.”