Under the cover of night, the city of Wilmington works to make sure the downtown streets look clean. With the numbers of bars and restaurants there, the central business district goes through a lot of trash. So you do not see all of it, one solid waste crew starts their day in the middle of the night. By the time the streets of Wilmington start to show signs of life, a two man solid waste crew has already been hard at it for a few hours. Erasmo Romeo of Solid Waste Management said, “I'm up at 2:30 here by 3.” From Red Cross to Orange Street, Vincent Cunningham and Erasmo Romeo work their way through downtown Wilmington, picking up the trash restaurants and bars throw out late at night. And as expected, the weekend is when they see the biggest mess. “Friday nights, Saturday nights are a killer. For example, this Saturday we picked up almost 6,000 lbs of beer bottles and wine bottles and almost 4,000 lbs of trash,” said Cunningham. There is a reason why a crew works from 3:30 in the morning until noon. “It's a lot easier to work without a lot of traffic and cars parked and it helps get rid of the unsightliness, the mess before people get downtown to get to work and the tourists come around,” said Rick Porter, Downtown Services Solid Waste manager. Sometimes, the streets are not quite so empty. “Yeah, there's still some party people going on down here at 4 o'clock in the morning, trust me,” said Cunningham. It is a dirty job, and in the winter it is a frigid one. Cunningham added, “A lot of the blue cans, like the beer and stuff, the water freezes up and it's cold. It makes us want to go faster so we'll stay a little bit warmer.” And when they see the streets rid of trash they look around with pride. “You clean up the town. People thank you, appreciate it. It makes you feel good,” Romeo said. During special events, when bars and restaurants are really busy, the city will sometimes add another crew in the morning to help with the clean-up.
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