Editor's Note: This piece was written by Cyndi Brandt, director of project marketing & strategic alliances at Omnitracs. The opinions represented in this piece are independent of Waste Dive's views.
The waste management industry depends on truck drivers to move materials each day. In honor of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week this Sept. 10-16, let’s take this opportunity to recognize the hard work of the 3.5 million men and women who provide us with daily necessities and conveniences and keep our economy rolling.
Without truck drivers, our nation’s economy would grind to a halt. According to the American Trucking Associations, we depend on trucks to deliver 10 billion tons of virtually every commodity consumed annually. In the United States, this accounts for more than $700 billion worth of goods hauled by trucks each year. Any disruption in truck transportation services would result in massive economic disruptions in all sectors of the economy.
In fact, truck drivers are the top transporter of goods in the world (more than trains, ships, or planes), and without trucks, goods and services would never reach their destinations. Everything you see around you right now has probably seen the inside of a truck at one time. You never would have seen them at all without the efforts of a dedicated driver.
Trucking is the backbone of the waste management/removal industry. Our country has an ever-expanding need for waste removal, from e-waste and pharmaceuticals to your typical household garbage. Americans generate more than 236 million tons of municipal or household waste annually, which doesn't include other types of waste, including the multi-millions of tons produced by the manufacturing and medical industries. Without trucks, garbage, waste and debris would pile up, increasing health risks and polluting the world around us — leaving all of us to suffer.
Trucks also help deliver fuel to waste processing facilities, so large equipment can operate efficiently. These drivers make it possible for our country’s waste management and recycling efforts to succeed and create the type of world in which we all want to live. Without our waste management truck drivers, our nation would be left on a dangerous and destructive path, covered in waste, toxic chemicals, and other dangerous pollutants. Without truckers, our environment would suffer. The trucking industry is the heart of environmental stewardship.
Especially now, in the wake of our current slew of natural disasters, from hurricanes and tropical storms in the south to wildfires in the west, our truckers are relied upon more than ever. Not only do we count on them during natural disasters, emergencies, and high-stress conditions to deliver goods and bring in needed water, medicine, and supplies safely and on time — but also to remove the mountains of waste and debris left in tragedy’s wake. In these moments of anxiety, drivers calmly complete their tasks, providing the products necessary to help their fellow man to recover and rebuild. And every day, they do it with pride.
Thanks to our drivers, we all have the opportunity to stay safe, happy, and healthy. If you know any truck drivers, make sure to thank them for all their hard work. Every one of those 3.5 million folks deserve a hand.