Sanitation Worker, Republic Services
Ricardo Torres has worked in the Southern California sanitation industry for 22 years. He currently works for Republic Services in Long Beach. He immigrated to the United States from Tijuana, Mexico to seek a better life for his wife and three daughters.
Ricardo’s typical day begins at 2:00 a.m. when he wakes up to get ready for his work shift at 4:45 a.m. As a “scout” driver, he drives a small pickup truck, hauling waste containers into more accessible locations so that larger waste trucks can collect the materials. Although the work is hard, Ricardo has continued working at Republic Services because he has a voice on the job and has been able to make this his career and improve his standard of living. That’s something he was not able to do at previous sanitation companies he worked for.
Ricardo explains that he has worked at other sanitation companies where workers were not treated with respect and were subject to dangerous working conditions. “They used to call us dirty garbage men, and treated us like trash. The truth is, we keep the streets clean. We do very hard work in order to provide for our families, but we are also protecting the public and the environment. I believe that all workers in this industry should be treated with respect and have safe working conditions.”
As a long-time sanitation worker, Ricardo knows about the significant dangers of working in the sanitation industry. Workers operate heavy machinery and are exposed to toxic materials. That is why Ricardo joined Don’t Waste Long Beach. By transforming Long Beach’s current commercial waste hauling system, city leaders will be able to not only increase access to recycling for all Long Beach residents, but also make sure that waste hauling companies have high standards when it comes to worker health and safety. This will ensure both a stable and experienced workforce and superior quality services for Long Beach residents.