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'We're out here all day long': Sanitation workers brave extreme heat to pick up your trash

Posted at 7:26 PM, Jul 10, 2024

BOISE NORTH END, Idaho — Extreme heat doesn't stop sanitation workers from picking up your trash. Republic Services is running residential routes earlier in the day for the next few weeks to allow drivers to finish their routes and get out of the worst of the heat.

  • Republic Services recommends people put their trash cans on the curb the night before trash day, as some routes will be picked up as early as 5:30 am.
  • Sanitation workers also appreciate you putting your trash cans in a shaded area if possible and a cold drink is always welcome on a hot day.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

"It's hot. It's tough, you know we're out here all day long," Jackson says.

You might see James Jackson driving a garbage truck through your neighborhood collecting your trash.

"It's over 100 degrees on the back of the truck it's the same temperature as it is outside. Inside, it actually gets hotter… it does heat up pretty good," says Jackson.

"It can get up to 120 in here I would say," says Jared Jensen, who works at Republic Services with James in a two-man crew.

One of them drives the truck while the other rides on the back dumping trash cans. He tells me that the AC in these trucks has a hard time keeping up with extreme heat.

Jensen says, "It's hotter than outside, you know this puts off a lot of heat in here. The engine is right underneath this, so you know it gets hot in these trucks there's no doubt about it."

The two swap roles every hour so that they can take a break from the heat.

"It definitely adds a little something when you're out here, you know lifting heavy cans," Jensen says.

"It's dangerous to a certain point right, when it gets super hot out there and it can be dangerous," says Republic Services General Manager Cord Stanley.

He tells me they're adjusting their schedules for the next few weeks to help drivers avoid the worst of the heat.

"If they can complete the bulk of their day early in the morning, so that they're less exposed at the at the peak heat of the day, which today's going to be 107 108 degrees, it is obviously beneficial for them," says Stanley.

As for James, the heat doesn't stop him from enjoying his favorite part of the job.

"Being out in the community and just taking care of the customers," says Jackson.