The Waste Management Engineer

A requirement that is probably unwritten but still in force.

Kyle looked out over his class of new recruits. It was an interesting bunch for sure, but mostly similar to every class that went before them for the past five years since he had been orienting these engineers to the ways of the waste management world.  

“Now, you’ve watched all the videos, done your internship on the trucks each morning for three weeks, and it’s high time we turn you loose into the world.”

The class of 32 students murmured as if it were a great accomplishment.

“Settle down now,” said Kyle. “You’ll get your chance to make a difference in this world. The last thing we need to pass on to you is our three required tasks each time you step inside one of our trucks.”

He handed a packet of one-page sheets to two people and asked them to pass it along.

“Everyone have one now? You’ve seen these requirements before in a variety of places and in different forms, but we need you to read these carefully and sign and date at the bottom. It’s that important. And you’ll notice by the plain English we use, we drafted the requirements ourselves. No lawyers were involved or harmed in the writing of this.”

Kyle read from the Requirement sheet.

“Number 1, proper and issued ear, eye, and hand protection will be worn at all times. Pretty straight forward, eh?”

Kyle could see nods of his students’ heads.

“Number 2. You are not permitted to keep anything you find in the way of old trash, such as clothes, shoes, furniture, electronics, books, et cetera et cetera et cetera. Let me explain this a bit. You don’t need what they’re throwing away. You don’t know where it’s been, who owned it or anything. Trust me on this. Tempting though it may be, you just don’t want to do it. Hopefully, we’re paying you enough to afford some of the most basic things they toss out. Capiche?”

Again, his class mumbled agreement.

“Lastly, and this is the one we have most fun with. Number 3. Don’t be afraid to make noise. We give you hand, eye, and ear protection for a reason. Make as much noise as you very well please any time day or night, or especially early morning. In fact, there’s a satisfying comfort knowing that their sanitation professionals are collecting and disposing of their trash.” 

Student Cassidy raised his hand and Kyle called on him.

“This is a requirement? What if we wanted to respect someone’s sleep time?”

“Yes, Cassidy, this is a requirement for the reasons we just stated. Don’t overthink it, Brother. Just do it. After a while, you’ll get used to it and you’ll want to do it more.”

“But won’t our customers complain?”

“In my 24 years of being in this business, I have not had one single complaint from a customer for making loud noises in the early morning. None. Once a year or less, someone complains to the company but it’s so rare. Plus, it’ll give you a way to vent frustrations. Make noise. Make it proudly. Now, don’t get carried away by crashing your truck into a building – not that kind of noise, but with the all metal dumpsters and cans? Have fun. It’s one of the unwritten perks of the job.”



  1. Some of us could give Kyle another reason that noise-making isn’t frowned upon by people in the neighborhood: the sound of the truck backing up, the bins being emptied, and the engineers shouting to one another is often an alert for some late-risers to move their bin to the curb!

  2. we are blessed in that our trash guys don’t make any noise – especially on the days they forget to empty our trash 🙂

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