Memphis’ solid waste director takes on trash pickup job

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Al Lamar has never been a garbage man, but he does it like a pro.

The City of Memphis Solid Waste director has been going out in the field with his workers, riding the trucks and picking up trash alongside them.

"Right now, what I'm doing is I'm spending some time working out here with my crew shoulder to shoulder," he said.

He's been on the job six months and he wants to see what it's like in the field.

"I needed to get a really good feeling for the kind of work my guys are doing," he says.

Virgil Green's been picking up trash for 42 years. He's never seen a solid waste director ride the truck with his workers.

"It feels good to see somebody that's big time from downtown come out and see what we're doing," Green says.

One woman watched as Lamar picked up her trash. We revealed to her that he's actually the solid waste director.

"Oh my word. Okay," she said, "Well, that's fantastic. Great that he's on it and seeing what's going on in the communities."

Lamar's made a number of changes to trash pickup since taking over as director and he wants to make sure things are running smoothly. The biggest change is curbside pickup for bulky items and debris. You used to have to call 311 to get it hauled away but now, each part of town has two designated pickup days a month. You can put out as much as you want as long as it's the day before pickup.

"It's making a difference," Lamar says.

Lamar's been going out in the field one day a week for the last five weeks and he's not stopping anytime soon.

"If you can show a man you respect his job, you can lead him," Lamar says.

Your bulky items pickup day is the same day as your regularly scheduled trash day during the first and third week of each month.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.