HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The city of Huntington is collecting more trash right now than this time last year, thanks to recent weeks with a stay-at-home order.
Huntington sanitation workers are picking up more trash as more people work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chris Weekley has been driving a garbage truck for the sanitation department for 22 years.
Crews are picking up an extra ton of trash along their routes, as more people order food and items online, plus they're using their free time to clean out attics and basements.
"If they could just bag it up rather than just putting all loose stuff out there, bags would help tremendously," Weekley said. "Breaking their boxes down. A lot of people are ordering more food from the internet and groceries from the internet, if they could just break all those boxes down and put them all together."
Workers have been picking up trash non-stop since the pandemic hit. They've been given masks and hand sanitizer to reduce their risk of potentially exposing themselves to the virus.
"A lot of guys after they're done with routes are changing their clothes, taking their shirts off at least," Weekley said. "Changing their shirts out cause that stuff, it's been up against you sometimes. You try to keep it off you, but sometimes you just can't help."
He says he loves his job and really enjoys seeing children along the way, excited to see them work.
"We have a couple kids on our routes you know, we'll stop and we'll run the back end for them so they can watch it, toot the horn," Weekley said. "We'll wave at em and stuff like that. They are amazed by it, by what it can do and it's so big."
Even though their day starts before the sun comes up and you may not immediately think of them when it comes to frontline workers, their contribution is also an essential service that's vital to public health.
"When you're done you can look back over your route or something and see that you've accomplished something," Weekley said. I've been in Huntington all my life, helping to keep it clean."
They ask that you drive slowly behind and around garbage trucks to keep the crews safe.