You probably see your recycling truck driver every week and yet never think about the ins and outs of their job.  Sarah Penrod is one of those faithful people who picks up your recyclable goods on a regular basis so that you can help make the world a little greener.  I found it interesting to hear about her job.

Can you explain what you do for a living?

I work for South Utah Valley Solid Waste District. I drive a roll-off truck, and I haul recyclable cans and deliver compost. I also work the scale which weighs trucks as they come in and out.

When do you use basic math in your job?

We use math a lot in conversions. We convert pounds into ton and then calculate the price per ton. I also use geometry when I am loading or taking the container off my truck. I have to make sure that I have the right angle so the can is able to slide off correctly rather than on its side.

Do you use any technology (like calculators or computers) to help with this math?

We use a computer to convert most of the weights and dollar amounts for us, but I use geometric principles in my head.

How do you think math helps you do your job better?

I have to understand and know my angles and conversions in order to do my job effectively.

How comfortable with math do you feel?

I feel comfortable with basic math, but anything beyond algebra would require some refresher courses.

What kind of math did you take in high school?

I took Algebra and Geometry.

Did you have to learn new skills in order to do the math you use in your job?

No, the math was something that I already knew.

There may be more you’d like to know about Sarah and the job of driving a recycling truck.  This is something you may not have given much thought before. Now that you’re thinking…if you think of anything else you’d like to ask Sarah, just let me know and I’ll catch her in between routes.

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