Professional Garbologist

Professional Garbologist


14 Years Experience

Harrisburg, PA

Female, 48

No, really, I am a state employee working in our Environmental Protection program. I have worked in the Waste Management program for nearly fifteen years. I have looked at the waste handling practices from about any type of facility you can think of, from food producers to hospitals to plating shops, and where the waste goes, like incinerators and landfills. My days are rarely dull, as I supervise ten inspectors and am usually the regulatory tie-breaker. My ideal day is a day in the field.

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26 Questions


Last Answer on November 05, 2019

Best Rated

Do the facilities you monitor dread your visits or do you have good relationships with them?

Asked by anthony almost 8 years ago

The ones we see on a regular basis know we're there to make sure they are complying with their permit requirements and the regs. We get to know the staff at these places pretty well, and most of the time the visits are great! Our unpermitted folks don't know we're coming, so we usually scare the bejeebers out of them. If they are following regulation, usually they have a pretty good day when we come around. If they aren't, well...

Do you use disposable things like paper plates or plastic cups? Or any single use products? I wonder if seeing how much unnecessary waste there is changed your way of doing things.

Asked by PanaSayUh 7 months ago

I do, but it isn't my first preference. I use reusable boxes and wash my plastic silverware, after lunch and carry a metal water bottle and insulated mug pretty much everywhere I go. Just picked up a metal straw! I also am willing to buy quality items so I only have to buy once, and shop for clothes on consignment. There are lots of things you can do, even if they are small, that can make big impact.

Do people think of you as a garbage(wo)man, and if so does it bother you?

Asked by lesley91 over 7 years ago

Nope, I regulate them.

Is it really all that bad if I accidentally put some non-recyclables in with my recycling? Does someone at the facility manually sort out the stuff that can't be recycled before it goes into whatever recycling contraption it goes into?

Asked by Seymour over 7 years ago

Not the end of the world, but recycling and disposal facilities are usually not on the same property in my experience. So, it is best if you are vigilant in separating your waste before the bins at your house.

What is the nastiest thing you have ever handled?

Asked by Dan 7 months ago

Hmmm.... I think strong solvents are probably the worst, but nothing beats the day I walked into a warehouse where they were storing hydrofluoric acid next to concentrated sodium hydroxide. For those of you not chemists out there, this is a "run away now" situation. Probably the grossest thing I've come across was a mortality compost pile that wasn't working as planned. Let's just say there were cow legs sticking out of unexpected places...

Have you ever drove a trash truck? Was it fun?

Asked by Jake 7 months ago

Sorry, no. I just help regulate their activities.

Do garbage dumps make the surrounding community smell bad? Is there technology that can reduce the smell?

Asked by Croele1 about 7 years ago

They can, but under the permits that the facilities hold, they are to have nuisance plans, which cover odor management. There are many things that can be done, such as gas management systems and deodorant sprays that help greatly.