24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know
Ever wanted to know what a day in the life of a garbage collector is like? Here’s your chance.
We make a good living
We make a better living than you might think, especially for a job that doesn’t usually require a high school diploma. The average annual salary for a garbage collector is almost $38,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, but we can make significantly more. In Chicago and other nearby cities, a garbage collector can pull in an average of $51,500 a year. Plus we have great job security: This is one role that can’t be outsourced overseas! You shouldn’t be throwing these food parts in the garbage.
The work’s not easy
Those assigned to a traditional rear-loading truck lift an average of 13,000 pounds per day. The Bureau of Labor Statistics rates garbage collecting as the fifth-most-dangerous job in America, behind roofers, airplane pilots, fishermen, and loggers. Try these tricks to cut back on food waste and save money.
Our biggest danger?
Getting hit by passenger cars when we’re stopped. At least nine states have laws requiring drivers to go slower than the posted speed limit when driving by a stopped garbage truck. This man created a museum dedicated to garbage. It might make you rethink what you throw out.
You can help us stay safe
You can also make the life of a garbage collector safer by wrapping your broken glass in newspaper first, to spare us bloody hands. And think twice before throwing out any chemicals. We’ve witnessed entire trucks go up in flames after chance chemical reactions in the back, often thanks to a farmer who dumped toxic pesticides.
Yes, there are garbage women
They make up only a tiny percentage of our ranks. We think that’s probably because there just aren’t many women excited about the smell, the maggots, and the other not-so-pleasant aspects of being a garbage collector. Be sure you don’t leave these things outside.
Your trash can be our treasure
If someone is moving out of a nice neighborhood, we watch carefully as we dump. We’ll even grab a bag and rip it open to peek at what’s inside. You never know when you’re going to find a Gucci purse, an old-fashioned watch, or a fur coat. Speaking of trash to treasure, these are items that you should always buy used.
We get unexpected bonuses
Some of us have even found cash in the trash. Earlier this year, a garbage collector in Augusta, Georgia, pulled $8,500 out of a can! (He returned it to the can’s owner.)
Yes, we do judge you by your can
Clean trash can? You’re probably a neat and clean person. We look at restaurants the same way. If their garbage is a disgusting mess, what do you think their kitchen looks like? Don’t throw out these food parts.
Squirrels are the worst
We’ve clashed with rats, raccoons, and other critters, but squirrels have become the real monsters of the garbage. A squirrel can bite right through the plastic of your bin; then, when we lift the lid, it flies out of there like a bat out of Hades.