Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

C-J EXTRA: Common for Garbage Collectors to Find Wallets, Dead Animals in Trash

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

C-J EXTRA: Common for Garbage Collectors to Find Wallets, Dead Animals in Trash

Article excerpt

It's something we take for granted. Once a week, the trash truck rolls through the neighborhood gathering up and taking away the refuse from the previous week. The sound of the trash bucket, compacting the garbage down the street is unmistakable --and thank goodness, gives us the opportunity to rush out and get our dumpster to the curb if we've forgotten.

But who are the people responsible for collecting all our waste? Meet Devin Satterlee, Mark Lopez and Ryan Ard, the Route 2 team of garbage collectors for the Shawnee County Solid Waste Department. Chris Ross is their supervisor. They recently shared their everyday job experiences.

Q: What's it like being a trash collector?

Satterlee: I like it. It's different every day.

Lopez: (chuckles) I like to get it done and get out of here. No, really, it's not a bad job.

Q: I imagine you've seen some pretty interesting things over the years? (Satterlee and Ard have been on the job eight years; Lopez, 6 1/2 years).

Ard: We've seen it all -- dead dogs.

Satterlee: Dead raccoons, lots of dead animals.

Lopez: We've found money.

Ross: And billfolds. Occasionally, someone will accidentally throw out a wallet. Of course, we make every attempt to return it to the rightful owner.

Q: Have you ever been able to actually get a wallet back to the owner?

Ross: Several times. We can usually get it back to them if they have identification in it.

Q: What are people's reactions when you tell them what you do for a living?

Ard: I haven't really gotten any reaction. It's just a job that needs done.

Q: What about people on the route -- do they treat you well?

Ard: Most people treat us well.

Lopez: Yeah, one older lady on our route gives us Christmas treats every year. …

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