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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 26 2013

Post-Christmas trash pickup wraps up holiday

WEST FARGO – Santa gets the glory, but if it wasn’t for guys like Jared Giffey, we’d be stuck with the garbage.

Giffey was slinging bins and sacks of trash at a double-time pace into the back of one of eight West Fargo city garbage trucks Thursday.

Normally, the city runs five trucks. His driver was welder Art Peterson – pressed into service.

“Basically, it’s a double route. … We’re pushing two days into one,” Giffey said.

Trash that normally would have been picked up Christmas Day got hauled Thursday, along with all the toy and gift boxes, wrapping, bows and food leftovers from the holiday.

“It’s a pretty heavy day,” agreed Chris Brungardt, the city’s acting public works director.

Throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area, platoons of trash haulers hit the streets to take on the post-holiday trash hangover.

Randy Affield, Moorhead’s streets, sanitation and fleet division manager, estimated his crews would pick up 90 to 95 more bags of residential garbage and double the normal amount of cardboard from recycling bins by the end of the day Thursday.

“It’s quite a workout for the guys,” Affield said.

In Fargo, where residential garbage pickup is done with lift trucks, the routes were going quickly, without a great deal of overflow on the residential bins, Route Supervisor Dave Rheault said.

“Things are cruising along. It’s actually looking pretty good. People have the recycling down, I think,” Rheault said.

Where overflow is occurring is at Fargo’s recycling sites, particularly for cardboard, as flattened TV cartons and toy, appliance and shipping boxes are quickly jamming bins.

The Osgood recycling site, with its 24 cubic yards of containers for card-board, needed two pickups Christmas Day, Rheault said.

“After driving by a couple (of recycling sites) today, they’re back full again,” Rheault said.

No one’s complaining though. Not only is the cardboard getting recycled, it may help keep households a little safer.

Police departments around the country are urging residents to keep boxes for their high-end electronic presents off the curb for the next few weeks, lest thieves use that as a cue to figure out what home they should try to burglar-ize next.

Instead, homeowners in other locales are urged to take the boxes to recy-cling stations.

Fargo Police Lt. Joel Vettel says trash hasn’t been used as a prime tip-off for unattended homes by area thieves, though he said it’s good for homeowners to do anything to avoid “tipping their hand.”

More important, he said, is to make sure homes look occupied:

•Have mail and newspapers picked up.

•Put lights on timers.

•Arrange to have walks and driveways shoveled.

“Do those little things to make sure you’re as hard a target as possible,” Vettel said.

The annual holiday season garbage-o-rama isn’t over yet. The New Year’s celebrations lie ahead.

Finishing up a break with other crews at the West Fargo city sanitation shop, Tom Clark called Thursday “good practice. Because next week, we turn around and do the same thing.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583