Garbage Man Jobs
Imagine our world without waste management. There would be mountains of trash, flourishing diseases, and countless rats and pests on every street corner and in every neighborhood around the world. Luckily there are devoted, hard working, individuals who make their living collecting our trash.
Waste management workers, or garbage men, collect, sort, and dispose of trash, waste, and refuse. It’s a full time job for people all over the world.
In the United States in 2009, garbage men collected 243 million tons of trash. That’s 4.3 pounds of trash per person per day.
See Also: Trucking Jobs
Trash is the unwanted and undesired junk and filth that we need to get rid of – useless packaging, yard waste, construction materials, food scraps, old newspapers, dead batteries, old appliances, empty bottles, used Kleenex, expired milk, empty soda cans, discarded pizza boxes, soiled carpets, or dead plants. Every single day garbage trucks rumble down streets and alleys collecting our non-hazardous trash from trashcans and dumpsters.
Garbage men work in teams. Early each morning they get into a $185,000 garbage truck and go to work. On a typical route they may make 100’s or even 1000’s of stops, where they pick up countless trash bins and load them into the back of the garbage truck. Net a giant trash compactor crushes the trash. At the end of the route or when the truck is full, the team transports the garbage to a sorting facility, unloads the garbage, sorts any waste, cleans the truck, and heads home.
From the sorting facility, the garbage is either combusted, transported to landfills, or recycled. In bigger cities, where there is less landfill space, the trash is loaded onto big rig trucks and transported to areas where there is more room. Next time you’re wondering what’s inside an 18-wheeler, it might just be garbage.
Garbage men deal with things that the rest of society wants to forget. Vulgar smells and indescribable oozes constantly assault waste management workers. Besides the odors, trash collection is ripe with other hazards – used needles, broken glass, dead animals, blinding dusts, angry customers, illegal dumps, hazardous materials, vicious dogs, backed up traffic, or trashcans full of maggots. It’s a thankless job. Garbage men wear protective clothing to keep themselves safe. Steel toed boots, protective gloves, hard hats, and reflective suits are industry standards.
Waste collection goes on every day of the week in every town and community in every sort of weather. Garbage men hate rain the most because it makes all of the heavy trash even heavier. Garbage men need strong legs, arms, and backs combined with good balance to manage the heavy loads.
The government typically oversees garbage collection, but private companies like Waste Management and BFI play a big role.
The best way to begin a career as a garbage man is to contact one of these companies for a job application. They usually require a background check and a current Commercial Drivers License if you want to drive the garbage truck.
Most waste management workers make $11 to $20 per hour or $26,000 to $46,000 per year. Some union workers in big cities make upwards of $80,000 per year. Not bad for a stinky job.
Waste will always be an issue and society will always need garbage heroes to collect, transport and dispose of our trash. If you think you have what it takes to clean up what others throw out, apply to be a garbage man today.
Quick Facts About Garbage Collection Jobs
Job Title: Garbage Man, Waste Management Worker, Garbage Collector, Refuse Worker, Sanitation Worker
Office: In a garbage truck or landfill
Description: Pick up and transport waste for disposal
Certifications/Education: Commercial Driver’s License
Necessary Skills: Strong arms, legs, and back, Able to deal with odors
Potential Employers: Governments and Private Waste management Firms
Pay: $11 to $25 per hour or $26,000 to $46,000 per year, some can make up to $80,000
Air and Waste Management Association
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Solid Waste Association
National Solid Wastes Management Association
Solid Waste Association of North America
US Environmental Protection Agency Wastes Homepage