Thousands of office workers are taking out their own trash, as employers seek to save money and boost recycling efforts.

In Texas, 20,000 state workers now haul their own garbage and recyclables to common receptacles, The Wall Street Journal reported. In the past, that was a duty for the night janitors.

"One of the really labor-intensive parts of custodial work is walking to people's desks and emptying the trash," Dana Williams, director of facilities services at the Texas Facilities Commission, told The Wall Street Journal. "And most people only have a fist-sized amount of trash."

Texas hopes this will save the state $825,000 a year. It's not much compared to the state's two-year budget of $182 billion. But in these tough economic times, every penny counts.

Employers aren't just penny-pinching. They hope that getting employees involved will lead to less trash and more recycling.

At Dartmouth College, the school presented the decision as part of a "sustainability initiative" to cut waste.

Still, not everyone was entirely happy with the choice.

Psychology professor Catherine Cramer questioned the wisdom of moving duties from low-paid employees to qualified professionals.

"While I am certainly not above emptying my own trash," Cramer said. "It's less clear to me that it's a good use of my professional time, especially to make the frequent trips necessitated by a tiny bucket."

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I was a teacher in a public school for 30 years and always emptied my own trash and even swept the classroom floor. Been there done that. Urban schoolteachers have had to do this for decades. Anyone else have the same experience ?

November 01 2010 at 8:18 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply