Help trash collectors with a few simple precautions

An interesting side effect of the stay home orders across the state: the realization that part of what we pay for when we go out to eat is not seeing the waste every meal creates. 

Alas, for many, stay at home orders are resulting in more trash and Keizer’s two waste management companies are noticing an uptick in requests for bulk bins. 

“Everyone is home and bored so they’re doing spring cleaning,” said Greg Dittman, manager of Valley Recycling & Disposal. “Even my wife is on the spring cleaning kick.” 

Humor aside, the city’s waste collectors are taking extra precautions and could use the help of Keizer residents as society battles the spread of COVID-19. Generally, commercial pick-ups are down, but multifamily buildings and long-term care facilities have produced enough to make up for the decrease.

John Sullivan, general manager of Loren’s Sanitation, said collectors are wearing gloves that are changed every time they come in contact with open waste. 

“We went through 1,200 pairs last week,,” Sullivan said. Collectors typically wear gloves, but the Loren’s added an extra layer of precaution along with extra hand sanitizer in every cab. “The main thing we are trying to prevent is cross-contamination.”

Loren’s serves many of the long-term care facilities in Keizer, including The Oaks at Sherwood Park, the site of a large outbreak of COVID-19. 

“At that site, we’ve asked them for a no-contact pick-up, but all that really means is they open the gate where they keep their bins so we can pick it up without having to handle the bins ourselves,” Sullivan said. 

The main thing Dittman and Sullivan need is the bagging of all waste going into gray receptacles at the corner. 

“That prevents things from coming loose that the guys then have to go out and pick up,” Dittman said. “If there are stray bags outside the container, don’t be surprised if it’s left behind for the next pick-up.”

He stressed that bagging only goes for the gray containers, recyclables going in the blue bin should remain loose. 

The other thing residents can do is leave extra space between containers at the curb. Collectors will stay safer if they don’t have to leave the truck and create space for mechanical arms to lift bins.