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Career Profile: Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors

Collect and dump refuse or recyclable materials from containers into truck. May drive truck.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 140,500 people employed as refuse and recyclable material collectors in the United States. The median annual salary is $39,100. Entry level employees earn approximately $23,880 per year and senior employees earn approximately $67,530 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Operate automated or semi-automated hoisting devices that raise refuse bins and dump contents into openings in truck bodies.
  • Make special pickups of recyclable materials, such as food scraps, used oil, discarded computers, or other electronic items.
  • Fill out defective equipment reports.
  • Communicate with dispatchers concerning delays, unsafe sites, accidents, equipment breakdowns, or other maintenance problems.
  • Check road or weather conditions to determine how routes will be affected.
  • Clean trucks or compactor bodies after routes have been completed.
  • Tag garbage or recycling containers to inform customers of problems, such as excess garbage or inclusion of items that are not permitted.
  • Provide quotes for refuse collection contracts.
  • Organize schedules for refuse collection.
  • Sort items set out for recycling and throw materials into designated truck compartments.
  • Dismount garbage trucks to collect garbage and remount trucks to ride to the next collection point.
  • Refuel trucks or add other fluids, such as oil or brake fluid.
  • Inspect trucks prior to beginning routes to ensure safe operating condition.
  • Drive trucks, following established routes, through residential streets or alleys or through business or industrial areas.
  • Operate equipment that compresses collected refuse.
  • Dump refuse or recyclable materials at disposal sites.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
140,500
Annual Openings:
21,400
Increase in Openings by 2030:
12%
Annual Salary Range:
$23,880 - $67,530
Education Requirements:
Some high school