The Art Of Trash Trucking


Obsessed or consumed…I can’t decide which better describes my son and his love of garbage trucks.

I know little boys (and girls) love trucks but I sometimes question if my 3 year old’s passion is a little too extreme.

trash trucking

We’ve had multiple garbage truck themed parties and have made him a trash truck costume for Halloween.

He manages a fleet of about 20 trash trucks and 40 trashcans. He sets them up for “trash day” and fills them with small toys, trains, and shredded pieces of paper. All cans must pass inspection and be facing the right direction, spaced evenly, and filled correctly. 

trash trucking

My lack of attention to can spacing has resulted in several toddler meltdowns. My mother-in-law is banned to spectator status for “smushing” the trash. (That means filling the can too full and trying to smush it all in). The garbage truck comes around for his pick up and this activity can last for hours. 


But our all-time favorite hobby is trash trucking.

Trash Trucking: Chasing or following a working garbage truck for a considerable length of time. Can be followed on foot, bike, scooter, stroller or car. 

We will seek out and follow a garbage truck through neighborhoods, shopping centers, city streets, private roads, and apartment complexes. Everyday errands take hours if we see a garbage truck. We could follow one truck for at least 30 mins until my son wants to go and look for another one. I’ve followed one all the way to the landfill. That was very exciting until I got a nail in my tire. As long as I can make it to the Starbucks Drive Thru I don’t care how long we drive around for.

At times I feel like a legit stalker when we go trash trucking. I’m probably on a watch list and should have a restraining order issued soon. I’m surprised that I’ve only been reprimanded twice for following too close. Last week the trash truck stopped in the middle of the street and the driver got out and walked towards us. I thought we were getting yelled at for sure, but he just wanted to say hi and introduce himself. The driver even brought gifts for my boys and appreciated their enthusiasm for trash.

We can always be found on trash day canvasing the neighborhood following that stinky truck.

Trash Tip: Green waste and recycling usually smell better. Thus, they are the preferable trucks trash truckingto follow.

We know our drivers, their names, routes, and several tidbits of personal information like where they work out and the other types of trucks they have driven in their career.

The drivers usually wave or honk and keep going, trying not to pay attention to the groupies on their tail. I think they sometimes feel bad for me. My son wears his trash truck shirt and squeals in delight as the cans get picked up and dumped into the hopper. (A hopper is where the trash gets collected inside the truck and is compacted down in preparation for the landfill.)

trash trucking

I guess I only have myself to blame for continuing to fuel his passion for trash trucking. When he sees a trash truck and screams “let’s follow it,” I usually do. I feel guilty when I see one without him. For now it’s just a phase and I’m sure it will pass. Until it does, I’ll be the crazy lady tailing the garbage truck in her double Bob or Ford Explorer. Wave and say hi!


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Heather grew up in Northern California and migrated down to Southern California to attend Chapman University. After graduation she worked for the Angels Baseball Club, Anaheim Ducks and Quiksilver apparel company. While working for the Angels she met her husband Aaron and they have two sons Mason (5) and Chase (2). Heather is the owner of Purify Sauna Lounge in Anaheim Hills and stays home with her toddler sons. In her free time she enjoys yoga, pilates and long walks thru Target.


  1. It’s like I’m reading about my own life — and that of my 3yo garbage/recycling truck-OBSESSED son! 🙂 We just had a “trash bash” birthday party, have been known to go around the block following the truck MANY times, and have a similar living room trash route set-up. I’m so glad we’re not the only ones lol!!

  2. My little guy loves the trash truck also! I have thought about parking outside the Anaheim facility to watch the trucks comes and go. Have you ever done that?

    • We’ve followed the trucks to a transfer center in Orange but haven’t been to Anaheim. It’s fun to see all the trash that gets collected! I know you can schedule a tour. We should do an Anaheim Moms Trash day!!

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