Distinctively Nantucket: Nantucket Native, Billy Santos

Billy Santos, a Nantucket legend, is often referred to as the “Man from Nantucket.”

What is your Nantucket story?

Born and raised on Nantucket, I grew up in ‘Sconset.  After I graduated from Nantucket High School in 1977, I headed to Plymouth State College in New Hampshire, which is now known as Plymouth State University. After graduating college in 1981, I came back to the island and started working with Glowacki & Sons, Inc and then I transitioned over to Sun Island Delivery. I also worked for my father in his carpentry business. 

How did you start your Santos Rubbish company?

My dad approached me about an opportunity to buy a small two-truck trash company in ‘Sconset from Jessie Eldridge. The rest is history, as I have managed it since 1986. In 1990, my sister Patti Santos joined me as a partner in the business. 

What is your favorite local hangout on Island?

The Chicken Box in the winter. It is less crowded. Sandbar at Jetties in the summer for obvious reasons and Kitty Murtagh’s. 

How has the trash industry evolved since you first started in the business?

A lot! At first, everything went into the same truck, and I mean everything!! Then, slowly, separation came along to the point where we are at today.

What do you enjoy doing when not working?

Fishing, traveling, and good restaurants. 

What are some tips you recommend when adhering to the new recycling rules?

It’s fairly easy, as recycling has been going on for decades. If people have questions, they call us directly. 

What was life like growing up on Nantucket?

It was great! A much smaller, tighter community.

Do you think Nantucket is ahead of other areas when it comes to trash and recycling?

Yes. Many places do not do anything at all when it comes to recycling.

What is your favorite spot on Island?

Coatue, Great Point, and any beach.

What is a message we can communicate to our visitors that they may not know?

People should recycle their bags. We can’t separate them!