Garbage never sleeps. The sound of the truck going by in the early morning hours has been known to rouse dozing folks, though the final story shared here is the ultimate garbage wake-up call.
In his book “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash, ” Edward Humes collects a landfill worth of stats, including the fact that America’s largest export is trash. Americans produce on average 7 pounds of trash a day.
Here are a couple of recycled news items. The first illustrates the eternal bond between toddlers and garbage truck operators. Note the old school trash cans in the background of the photo. The second illustrates all that can end up in the trash.
This is from the July 10, 1984, edition of the then Telegram-Tribune:
Kicking a habit
Two-year-old Brian Huber of San Luis Obispo agreed to give up his bottles recently if he personally could chuck them into a garbage truck.
So, a San Luis Obispo Garbage Co. driver pulled a truck up next to the Huber home on Richard Street and Brian did the honors — throwing all four of his bottles into the truck.
In exchange, Brian got a T-shirt and a cap.
His mother, Mary Jo Huber, said Brian knows the garbage company workers by name and they know him.
“He waits for them every Friday, ” she said.
“It was a great way to kick the habit, ” she said. “He never even asked for them again.”
The next news item could have inspired the trash compactor scene from the film “Star Wars.”
This item is from the Nov. 8, 1976, edition:
Snoozing man taken out with the trash
An unidentified man had a rude awakening in San Luis Obispo last week– in a garbage truck.
The man, about 25 to 27 years old, apparently spent Thursday night in a paper and cardboard-filled trash container at a warehouse near the Southern Pacific tracks at Roundhouse Avenue. He was dumped with the paper into a San Luis Garbage Co. truck before the sun rose, company foreman Brad Caligari said today.
It was about 5:20 a.m., and the first pickup of the day for the driver. He hadn’t seen the man as the truck’s mechanical arms lifted the container and overturned its contents into the truck. The first he knew he had a passenger was when he heard pounding on the truck’s walls.
He drove straight to the restaurant where Calagari was eating breakfast, and he was “shaking like a leaf, ” Caligari said.
Caligari opened the truck’s side door and the man jumped out, unhurt. He spoke only a few words of English, and no one there spoke Spanish. No one got his name.
[Editors note: This was published in The Tribune but at the time we were experiencing blogging technical issues.]