Sanitation workers or garbage men collect trash from the side of the road and from dumpsters, servicing both commercial and residential places. Predominantly, garbage men are responsible for not only collecting refuse but also for sorting and collecting recyclable materials. This is generally an entry-level job requiring little formal education.
What Do Garbage Men Do?
Garbage men are more professionally reputed as refuse collectors, and their primary task is to drive along assigned routes and recycling and collect trash. Most garbage men start early in the day, and their primary machine is a garbage truck with hydraulic lifts that permit the truck to pick up trash containers. For few garbage men, getting out of the truck is unneeded; however, those without hydraulic lifts should manually lift and deposit trash into the garbage truck, so it’s highly recommended to have good upper body strength before considering this job.
Garbage men are exposed to a variety of smells and offensive materials, so a robust stomach is highly beneficial for this position. Mechanical knowledge is useful for those working with hydraulic lifts, and garbage men should also have excellent time-management skills. They are generally encouraged to finish their routes as early as possible. They should be able and willing to work in a variety of weather conditions and be prepared to show strong customer service skills when it is required to speak with the public.
Garbage Man Tasks
- Transport solid waste to appropriate disposal sites.
- Mechanically and manually collect solid waste.
- Communicate with dispatchers concerning unsafe sites, delays, accidents, equipment breakdowns, or other maintenance problems.
- Can drive trucks, following established routes.
How Much Do Garbage Men Make
Careers in the U. S:
According to 2011 data from the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the average hourly pay of a garbage man in the US was $16.55, representing an approximate annual salary of $34,420. Eighty percent of all garbage men reported hourly earnings ranging from $8.92 to $26.69. Half of the garbage men made between $11.45 and $20.52 per hour. The median of all hourly compensation reported was $15.52.
Geographical Variances in Pay
BLS statistics report that garbage men in metropolitan cities tended to make higher wages than those working in nonmetropolitan cities, mostly due to differences in the local cost of living. Garbage men in Massachusetts, Peabody, reported the highest hourly earnings of any metropolitan city, at an average of $30.95. The highest hourly pay reported in a nonmetropolitan area, $21.97, was reported in northeastern Pennsylvania. Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts reported some of the highest average salaries for this position. Outside of these states, the highest average compensation was concentrated in the northwest and far west.
Employment Sector Wage Variance
BLS statistics for May 2011 also indicate considerable remuneration differences for garbage men working in different employment industries. Those working for state governments made an average hourly salary of $19.27, while garbage men hired by local governments averaged $17.12 per hour. Garbage men working for private waste collection companies tended to make less than those in the public sector, reporting an average of $16.05 per hour. Garbage men working in waste treatment and disposal averaged $17.83 per hour(1).
Careers in Europe: An entry-level garbage collector (1-3 years of experience) earns an average salary of € 26.115. On the other hand, a senior level garbage collector (9+ years of experience) earns an average salary of € 40.559.
Careers in Asia: The average garbage collector salary in Malaysia is RM 40,947 or an equivalent hourly rate of RM20.
As of 2010, an estimated 139,900 garbage collectors were employed in the United States. The BLS predicts a job growth rate of 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, 6 percent higher than the estimated average for all professions. Increases in population, income, and recycling are expected to increase the need for garbage collectors. The positive job growth rate should mean good prospects for employment for candidates interested in the occupation.