Before we dive into the main topic of this article, let’s talk a bit about who garbage collectors are. Garbage collectors work for public or private sectors to collect and dispose of trash, otherwise known as municipal solid waste, and recyclables. They collect from residential, commercial, industrial, or anywhere else that may need it. Let’s know How Much Do Waste Collectors Make?
The first record of garbage collectors goes all the way back to the Black Plague, and they were called “rakers” then. Today, they are known as garbage collectors, waste, dustmen, binmen and use specialized garbage collection vehicles also known as garbage trucks which help them collect garbage and do so quickly without exposure.
According to Payscale, the average base hourly pay for garbage collectors is $17.63. The total average base annual salary is $40,695. Once you add in the annual bonuses, overtime, and tips, the hourly rate, and annual salary numbers will go up.
- Garbage collectors can work for the public or private sectors. They collect and dispose of trash and recyclables from commercial, residential, and industrial properties
- Garbage collectors were known as “rakers” back in the day
- The average hourly pay is $17.63 and the average annual salary is $40,695
How Much Do Waste Collectors Make?
According to Payscale, the average hourly pay for entry-level garbage collectors with less than 1-year experience is $15.73 and the average annual salary is $30,000. The average hourly pay for early-level garbage collectors with 1-4 years of experience is $16.56 and the average annual salary is $31,000. The average hourly pay for mid-level garbage collectors with 5-9 years of experience is $17.31 and the average annual salary is $33,000.
Furthermore, the average hourly pay for experienced garbage collectors with 10-19 years of experience is $20.24 and the average annual salary is $38,000. The average hourly pay for garbage collectors with 20 years or more experience is $25 and the average annual salary is $48,000. There’re cases in big cities where some union workers make more than $80,000 annually. Not bad, not bad at all. All the above salaries include annual bonuses, overtime pay, and tips.
- Garbage Collectors with less than 1-year of experience can make $30,000
- Garbage Collectors with 1-4 years of experience can make $31,000
- Garbage Collectors with 5-9 years of experience can make $33,000
- Garbage Collectors with 10-19 years of experience can make $38,000
- Garbage Collectors with 20 or more years of experience can make $48,000
- Some garbage collectors in big cities do make upwards of $80,000
What Do Garbage Collectors do?
Garbage collectors deal with what society doesn’t want to deal with but also can’t ignore. Besides the vulgar smell, the job comes with a lot of health hazards from used needles, illegal dumps to hazardous materials, and vicious dogs. Therefore, it is an industry-standard for garbage collectors to wear protective clothing to keep themselves safe on the job.
Garbage collection goes on 365 days a year in all types of weather. The collectors need a lot of physical strength with good balance to be able to lift the heavy trash, especially in the rain as it makes it even heavier.
Usually, the government is the one overseeing the garbage collection, but private companies BFI and Waste Management also contribute to it. Contacting companies like BFI and Waste Management about a job application is the best way to start a career in this industry if you’re interested.
- Garbage collectors collect and dispose of trash and recyclables daily
- They are also exposed to health hazards that endanger their health and the environment
- They work in all weather conditions
- Garbage collectors need to be physically strong and well balanced to lift heavy trash
Typical Day of a Garbage Collector
On average, a Garbage collector’s day starts at 5 A.M. Most of them work alone. Before beginning their shift, they check their trucks to make sure they are safe to operate.
Throughout the day, they will be driving the truck, operating the hydraulic system, or manually lifting the garbage containers to dump the trash in the garbage truck if the truck doesn’t come with the hydraulic system. Each container can weigh between 40 and 100 pounds and some even as much as 800 pounds so being physically strong is part of the job description.
Additionally, they will also communicate with their managers throughout the day about traffic and dangerous weather, collection sites, vehicle breakdowns, equipment failures, and other operational problems. They will also write reports based on their daily routine.
Usually, garbage collectors put in 8-hour shifts. However, shifts lasting longer than 8 hours are not uncommon. They might also get called on holidays or weekends if needed.
- The typical day starts at 5 A.M.
- Drive throughout the day, operate the hydraulic system to lift the trash containers, and dump the trash in the truck. If the truck doesn’t have a hydraulic system then they manually pick the trash containers to dump the trash in the truck
- Communicate with the manager to keep them up-to-date with everything happening on the job
- Usually, shifts last 8 hours but can go over
Health Risks of Garbage Collection
Garbage collectors on a daily basis collect garbage from highly contaminated waste dumps and landfills and are exposed to multiple health hazards while collecting garbage and separating recyclables.
Additionally, the collected garbage has waste that is corrosive, explosive, toxic, and hard to dispose of because of its biochemical nature. 4 percent or more of the collected garbage has the potential to cause harm to both human health and the environment.
Furthermore, garbage collectors are in danger of many health problems in this field. Many documented health problems for garbage collectors include respiratory problems, infectious diseases, gastrointestinal issues, muscle pain, fever, headache, fatigue, irritation of eyes and skin, mechanical trauma, pulmonary problems, chronic bronchitis, musculoskeletal damage, hearing loss, poor emotional well-being, and other injuries.
Lastly, Garbage collectors handling hospital waste mixed with household waste are in danger of catching serious infections. According to research, rates of anti-hepatitis A virus are higher among garbage collectors than people who are not exposed to waste.
- Garbage collectors daily collect waste from contaminated sources which cause a great deal of harm to their personal health
- A lot of health problems caused by being exposed to waste have been documented including respiratory problems, infectious diseases, gastrointestinal issues, muscle pain, etc.
How to Become a Garbage Collector
The requirements to become a garbage collector are different per every employer. Most require that garbage collectors have a high school diploma. After getting hired, they receive on-the-job training from garbage collectors with more experience to learn the necessary skills.
Additionally, you need to have a commercial driving license to drive a garbage truck which you can get after finishing a practical training course and passing a regional test.
Furthermore, if you’re going to be handling hazardous materials, you will need proper credentials which you can get after finishing extra training. You will also have to pass a background and drug test.
In terms of promotions, you will need to gain experience. Garbage collectors with experience under their belt are given opportunities for advancement in their careers allowing them to earn more. With more experience, you can attain a managerial position. As a manager, you will be conducting administrative tasks like creating better waste management strategies, hiring/firing, seeing if you need new trucks or equipment, managing your workers, their schedules, and paying them by signing their paycheques.
- Every employer’s requirements are different. Most will require a high school diploma, a commercial driving license
- Handling hazardous materials requires proper credential
- Room for growth provided you have experience under your belt
The Importance of Garbage Collectors in Our Society
Men and women in garbage collection and other related industries are often some of the hardest working people on earth. It is sad to see that many of us take them for granted.
We, human beings, have a habit of taking people for granted especially when it comes to the ones working “dirty” jobs. It is the ugly truth. But the fact of the matter is, the ones we look down on are the ones who without our world will stop functioning.
We don’t even want to imagine a world without garbage collectors. Could you imagine, all the trash is just piling up till our streets are filled with it. And the vulgar smell. Oh, the smell! We shudder at the very thought of that scenario. This is why garbage collectors are an important part of our society. So next time you see one, say hi and give them a nice tip.
- Garbage collectors are some of the hardest workers on earth
- Don’t take them for granted as without them, our lives would stop
- If you see one, say “Hi!” and give them a nice tip. It will make their day
To close, Garbage collectors earn a decent amount of cash. They should make more, in our opinion, seeing as how important garbage collection is within our society. Also, because of the daily health hazards, they are exposed to which endangers their health. It’s fair to repeat the fact that without these workers, our lives will grind to a halt and we will forever be forced to stay inside.
Q 1. Is the job of a garbage collector stressful?
A. Not really. Many garbage workers actually enjoy their work and find it fulfilling.
Q 2. What are the skills required to be a garbage collector?
A. You need to have a lot of stamina, physical strength, and balance. Also, you may need customer service skills if you’re going to be dealing with the public.