Trash truck removal drivers working more hours to meet increased demand of garbage amid stay-at-home orders

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- With most Californians staying home, taking the trash out has become one of the most frequent chores. And trash removal drivers like Eddie Chavez are working overtime.

"Our hours have increased. Normally, you complete your route and you go on about your day. Now, we'll complete our route and go help out the next guy who didn't get a chance to complete his route because his has increased," said Chavez, a driver with Republic Services.

In Huntington Beach, Republic Services drivers are picking up 30% more residential trash than usual, which makes sense - with the kids at home, more DIY projects and spring cleaning.

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"Well, with folks at home now making breakfast, lunch and dinner, they're accumulating more trash, they're cleaning out their homes. We've got a lot of people who've got projects going on right now," said Debbie Killey, a community relations manager for Republic Services.

Neighbors say the drivers of these big blue trucks are also on the front lines of this crisis. Their uniforms just look a little different.

"We appreciate the fact that they're putting their lives at risk and they're coming out here serving us so that we can stay home and stay safe," said resident Heather Labow.

"Unsung heroes. Since I was little, I always appreciated what they do," said resident Michael Schley.

Republic Services general manager Christopher Kentopp says despite it all, drivers continue to complete their jobs with courage and grace.

"When a lot of people had the opportunity to stay home to keep their families safe, our team had to step up. They still had to be here," said Kentopp. "They still had to make sure the public, and our customers and everybody else was maintaining the sanitary conditions that they're accustomed to, which I believe in the long-term prevents diseases like coronavirus from spreading."

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