TAMPA, Fla. — Accelerated Waste Solutions isn't just picking up junk — they aim to uplift their community.
For more than a decade, the company has taken salvageable items from the curb to families in need.
Co-owner Sherrod Hunter says every stop for their big green trucks is a chance to make a difference in a person's life.
"We realized that one man's trash is another man's treasure," Hunter said. "We would collect things, and we didn't want to take it to the landfill. We wanted to recycle it. We found that it's even more rewarding if you can find people in need, then we can donate, and they can benefit."
So, Hunter and co-owner Fred Tomlin started partnering with Tampa Bay thrift stores and nonprofits, dropping off anything that could be salvaged.
"We look at clothes that can be reused. There are canned goods, non-perishable items that can be donated to families in need as well," Hunter said. "We look at every job as an opportunity to give back and make this world a better place."
The donations have become so prevalent that organizations started making wish lists for particular items.
"They may come to us and say, 'This week, we need dressers for a family for a shelter.' Another week, it may be clothing, another week it may be bedding," Hunter said.
Their call center team often knows before the truck even arrives what to expect, thanks in large part to their new app, Junk Shot.
"We call it trash-parency, right?" Tomlin said. "Get a photograph and a video, being able to see the material before we get on-site so we can give people a more accurate quote."
The company hopes they can be an inspiration to others and show it's possible to build a solid, profitable business and help out the community all at the same time.
"(It) actually started out as our first mantra, 'Helping Tampa Bay day after day,' and it's evolved," Tomlin said.
This story was originally published by Robert Boyd on Scripps station WFTS in Tampa.