Are you looking for a new job? Maybe you are just thinking about it and you want to know what your options are?

Have you ever considered the work of rubbish collectors? Maybe you have seen them on the street in the day or at night on their collection round.

Collecting rubbish is certainly not glamorous, but if you wanted a glamorous job you wouldn’t even be reading this article. Yes, it is hard work and it is very physical. That could be a big part of the appeal.

Don’t be quick to throw this opportunity in the trash. Read on to learn the basics of employment as a rubbish collector as well as some of the benefits.

What Do Rubbish Collectors Do?

This may seem like a redundant question but you will be surprised at what is involved.

The first thing you should know is that there are 2 basic roles.

The Driver

This is the person who drives the refuse collection vehicle. They are an important part of the team and they need to keep at the right pace with the actual collectors.

After the refuse has been collected they will drive it to the collection facility and unload. During extreme weather such as very hot or cold, this job may seem to be the perfect role. It certainly is not as physical as other roles but then again it is less ‘stimulating’ in its nature.

If you are not physically fit or strong, and you cannot tolerate extreme weather, then this role may suit you the most.

The Groundman or Helper

This is the most visible role in rubbish collection. A helper will work as part of a small team. This requires cooperation and teamwork.

The ability to work in small units cooperatively like this, and get on with others while pulling your weight, are important skills.

Physical strength and endurance are also required. Trash can sizes vary, and depending on the type of rubbish they contain, they can weigh 40 kgs or more.

Many refuse collection vehicles have loaders that will enable workers to load up heavy containers and tip the rubbish into the collection vehicle. That means the ground workers have to be able to operate machinery and loading mechanisms.

Even though this type of equipment is not complicated it has to be operated correctly and safely.

Surprising Extras

Collecting rubbish is on a tight schedule. Anything that involves manual work, machinery, and transportation can lead to unexpected challenges and problems. Rubbish collectors need to be adaptable and have practical thinking ability.

Often, workers will communicate using hand signals as work can be noisy or collection can be in a noisy place where normal verbal communication is difficult. Either way, workers need to be able to learn the key signals and use them correctly.

How Much Do Refuse Collectors Earn?

Good question. The answer depends on who you work for. If you work for a local government service, you will likely earn more than if you work for an independent private contractor.

Independents also offer fewer benefits than government jobs. That said, the opportunities in the independent sector are likely to be more prevalent.

You can expect a median salary of about $35,000 per annum. Depending on who you work with and your exact role, you could earn more than this. For example, drivers with extended licenses will earn more.

How Much Work Is There?

One thing is for sure; the amount of rubbish being produced is not decreasing. As a nation, we will continue to generate vast amounts of rubbish that needs collection.

It is no wonder then that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected 13.2 percent employment growth for rubbish collectors between 2016 to 2026. So in short, there is no shortage of work and it is likely to keep increasing.

If you have the entrepreneurial spirit you may even consider starting your own refuse collection business. You can build a career and business in this industry if you are organized, reliable and not afraid of hard work.

If you are going to put your foot in the water make sure you buy refurbished garbage trucks rather than news ones as this can save you a fortune in your initial capital.

Save Money and Save the Planet

It is fair to say that rubbish collectors may encounter all sorts of things when collecting other people’s trash. However, if you have an eye for recycling you may save yourself a fortune in recycling or upcycling some of the things you find.

It will not be your motivating force in this career but you would be amazed at what is thrown away especially in wealthier neighborhoods. That said, positive motivation is how you can help to protect the environment through good waste disposal practice.

Don’t Throw Away This Opportunity

In this article, you have read about the ins and outs of the role of rubbish collectors and associated tasks in the industry. Yes, it is hard work and very physical at times. Yet, it is a rewarding job that is stress-free when compared with some indoor jobs.

The good news is that this sector is set for further growth and so now is the time to get involved as an employee or even explore the possibility of developing your own business. Don’t let this opportunity end up in your trash can.

If you don’t want to work anymore, maybe you should read this great article on our site about how to pick a winning lottery ticket. If you win, make sure you let us know!