Island Disposal brings one of its garbage trucks to South Whidbey Children’s Center to give little kids a big thrill. Observed parent Caitlin Voss, “They’re obsessed with garbage trucks and recycling trucks.” (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Island Disposal brings one of its garbage trucks to South Whidbey Children’s Center to give little kids a big thrill. Observed parent Caitlin Voss, “They’re obsessed with garbage trucks and recycling trucks.” (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Tots receive truckload of learning

Island Disposal gives lessons in safety, garbage and recycling

What is it with little kids and big garbage trucks?

They play pretend trash pick-up, they anxiously await the real deal at their homes and they go a little crazy in the car if they spot one out and about making the rounds.

On Tuesday, tiny tots got up close — and even in the driver’s seat — of a hulking huge Island Disposal garbage truck that made a special visit to their biggest — and littlest fans at the Langley preschool, South Whidbey Children’s Center.

“Our children love playing trash pick up,” explained Kris Barker, preschool executive director. “The trash truck workers are like super heroes to them.”

Asked for specifics of their obsession while viewing the shining blue trash truck, one little boy shouted out, “The tires. I love the big tires.”

Another offered, “The smell. I like how it stinks.”

Actually, the big truck gleamed from a recent wash and hadn’t yet started its morning pick-ups. So no smell, yet.

Island Disposal drivers talked about the job and the safety aspects of picking up and disposing of trash to an audience of about two dozen preschoolers, ages 2 to 5, and many herding adults.

“Empty, the truck weighs 35,000 pounds,” driver Phil Whitlock said. “We can load up to 56,000 pounds, which is the number you see on the side of the truck.”

Teacher Yvonne De LaRosa then asked her young charges, “Wow, 56,000 pounds. How many elephants is that?”

But the kids were too busy counting tires, holding their noses, and admiring the yellow-jacketed towering workers to think about elephants.

Site manager Michelle Trimbur explained Island Disposal picks up all of Whidbey Island’s trash except for Oak Harbor and the Navy base. “There’s eight routes,” she said. “We have about 500 customers on each route five days a week.”

It also provides recycling services.

At the back of the truck, pint-size pupils looked up wide-eyed in wonder at the big steel mouth that opens and closes and eats garbage 4,000 times a day.

“I think I see a few faces that watch me out here early in the morning when I’m here on Tuesdays,” Whitlock remarked.

Jokingly, longtime employee operations supervisor John Patterson added, “We see them when they’re really little, and then 50 to 60 years later, we see them again. It’s the old folks that come out, too and they set their clocks by us.”

Island Disposal said it was a first for them to be asked to talk to a class.

Usually, it’s more one on one.

“People, old and young, come out and see the drivers,” Trimbur said. “So the drivers take five minutes and explain the truck. It is a big fascination. It’s also a good opportunity to talk about safety around the trucks.”

Barker explained that the preschool often has people come in and talk about their jobs, such as police officers, fire fighters and parents.

The Sunflower class, a dozen children of 3.5 to 5 year olds, have been talking about garbage and recycling trucks all year at the preschool, Barker said. That led lead teacher Lalaina Valle to inquire about Island Disposal making a visit.

The company also passed out t-shirts and little toy garbage trucks.

“It was a super experience,” Barker said the next day. “The kids loved it. One of them accidentally lost his squishy garbage truck and the parent had to come back in the dark with a flashlight and find it in the parking lot.”

Phil Whitlock, driver with Island Disposal, answers questions about garbage trucks to wide-eyed preschool pupils of South Whidbey Children’s Center. The company visited the Langley school Tuesday. (Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Phil Whitlock, driver with Island Disposal, answers questions about garbage trucks to wide-eyed preschool pupils of South Whidbey Children’s Center. The company visited the Langley school Tuesday. (Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

John Patterson with Island Disposal offers preschool students a lift up into the driver’s seat of the big blue truck.

John Patterson with Island Disposal offers preschool students a lift up into the driver’s seat of the big blue truck.

Many opted to get a view from the driver’s seat during Tuesday’s visit. “Our children love playing trash pick up,” explained Kris Barker, preschool executive director. “The trash truck workers are like super heroes to them.”

Many opted to get a view from the driver’s seat during Tuesday’s visit. “Our children love playing trash pick up,” explained Kris Barker, preschool executive director. “The trash truck workers are like super heroes to them.”

More in News

The city of Langley plans to replace well-loved playground equipment at Generation Park with a new structure that includes glide slides, spiral climber, horizontal loop ladder, spin cup, toddler swing and more. (Photo provided)
Generation Park slated for new playground equipment

Glide slides, spiral climber, loop ladder, spin cup and more swinging in soon

Dogs still get to run free by the sea in Langley

Seawall Park exempted from new leash law

Cooking up lessons in Langley’s Learning Labs

Youth, adults take classes in revamped home ec and shop classrooms

Geri Forbes’ four-year tenure marked by change, controversy and construction

Bottom line got healthier than took a turn for the worse

Port renames, rebrands Langley fair property to attract events

One of the oldest venues on South Whidbey has a new name… Continue reading

Port of South Whidbey commissioners Jack Ng, left, Curt Gordon and Ed Halloran review a list of grant application requests before announcing their decision at a meeting.
Port announces annual grants for tourism development

Eight organizations get piece of $30,000 pie

Port looking to fill commissioner vacancy

Port of Coupeville commissioners are deciding how to fill a to-be vacant… Continue reading

David Felice photo
                                Island County Emergency Management Director Eric Brooks talks about the importance of disaster readiness Saturday at St. Hubert’s Church in Langley. Several agencies presented an informal demonstration and discussion of how to be ready for emergencies.
Be prepared, emergency manager says

When Eric Brooks thinks about his work, he asks himself “How big… Continue reading

Langley calls for street dance artists

The Langley Main Street Association is accepting submissions from bands and artists… Continue reading

Most Read