Garbage Collector

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Practical or MechanicalSkill Level 1Skill Level 2

Garbage, rubbish and recycling collectors collect rubbish from houses, industries and commercial businesses for disposal or recycling. Future Growth Decline

They drive or ride in rubbish trucks, pick up bags, bins or recycling materials and throw them into the truck, or operate industrial waste disposal facilities. They may also separate recycling materials and remove hazardous waste, and unload or clean the truck. Recycling and rubbish collectors may also plan and organise the schedules and routes for rubbish and recycling collection in consultation with local government.

Garbage collectors may operate their own business or work within a partnership collecting garbage bags and other rubbish from domestic and commercial premises.

ANZSCO description: Collects household, commercial and industrial waste for recycling or disposal.

Alternative names: Refuse Collector, Waste Removalist, Sanitation Workers, Graffiti Officer, Waste Collector, Compact Truck Driver (Rubblish Collection), Street cleaners or an old term "Dustmen"!

Specialisations: Garbage Depot Worker

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A garbage, recycling and rubbish collector needs:

  • physical fitness and stamina
  • to enjoy outdoor work
  • manual and practical skills
  • a methodical approach to their work
  • speed and efficiency
  • to be able and willing to work in unsanitary conditions

Cleaning out green bin

Duties and Tasks

Garbage collectors may perform some of the following as part of their duties:

  • ride in or on garbage and recycling trucks
  • collect waste and load it into bins or trucks
  • collecting rubbish and items for recycling from domestic, commercial and industrial premises
  • return empty bins to footpath
  • operate machinery or compacting equipment
  • loading rubbish and recycling into bins and garbage and recycling trucks
  • drive trucks, street sweeping machines, or machinery at the tip.
  • operate forklift and compacting equipment
  • unloading garbage and recycling trucks
  • may operate compacting equipment on garbage trucks
  • report incidences of graffiti
  • may supervise other garbage collectors

Working conditions

Recycling and rubbish collectors work outdoors, usually in large trucks, which they drive either along established domestic routes or to businesses and other organisations, and also to recycling plants and waste disposal facilities. They work in most weather conditions, and are often required to undertake a lot of heavy lifting. Working conditions may be dirty, smelly and unhygienic. They usually work irregular hours, which often involve early mornings.

 

Garbage Truck

Garbage collectors need to be able to identify recyclable materials (such as paper, glass, plastic, aluminium and steel) so these can be recycled.

Some garbage collectors operate their own business collecting garbage bags and other rubbish from homes and/or businesses.

Tools and technologies

Recycling and rubbish collectors generally drive rubbish collection vehicles such as trucks, which may be fitted with hydraulic lifting equipment and automated compacting equipment. They may also be required to work with industrial waste-disposal equipment. They are often required to wear protective clothing such as masks, gloves, boots and high-visibility clothing when they are working on roadsides.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You do not need any qualifications to become a recycling and rubbish collector and get training on the job. However, your employment prospects may be improved with formal qualifications.

You can also become a recycling and rubbish collector by completing a traineeship. Waste management traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete. Alternatively a waste collection driver traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

​To operate a waste collection vehicle, you will need appropriate licences to drive vehicles and operate machinery. Truck drivers and garbage collectors involved in transporting waste products and toxic or flammable substances must have suitably endorsed licences.

Employment Opportunities

The majority of garbage collectors work for private rubbish removal companies. Their services are then contracted by local councils and corporations.

With experience and further training, it is possible to progress to supervisory and management positions.

Did You Know?

Metal Cans
Americans throw away enough aluminum in three months to rebuild all of our commercial airplanes!

The energy saved by recycling one aluminum can could run a television for three hours!

The energy saved by recycling 19 billion steel cans each year is the same as Los Angeles' energy requirements for eight years!

Currently, the only source for new tin in the U.S. is from recycling used tin cans!

Recycled tin is so pure that it is used to make stannous fluoride, the "cavity fighter" in toothpaste!

Paper
Every year, Americans throw away enough office and writing paper to build a wall 12 feet high, stretching from Los Angeles to New York City!

We use more than 50 million tons of paper each year!

Recycling one ton of paper saves one acre of trees!

More than 30 million trees are cut down to create one year's worth of newspapers!

Paper makes up the largest single item in the trash, accounting for 37 percent!

Recycle Rubbish

Glass Bottles and Jars
If all the glass bottles and jars collected through recycling in the U.S. in one year were laid end-to-end, they would reach the Moon and half way back to the Earth!

The volume of glass recycled by Americans in one year would fill New Jersey's Giants Stadium more than three times!

Glass can be recycled an infinite number of times!

The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will light a 100-watt bulb for four hours!

Plastics
Used plastic soda and juice bottles are used to make carpets, insulating materials in clothes and sleeping bags, strapping, scouring, pads, auto parts, paint brushes, bottles, and other things such as tennis balls!

We can recycle plastic milk, water and detergent bottles to make new detergent and engine oil bottles, trash cans, flower pots, recycling bins, drainage pipes, park benches, playground equipment, traffic barrier cones, kitchen drain boards and combs!

The number of plastics recycling businesses has nearly tripled over the past several years, with more than 1,700 businesses handling and reclaiming post-consumer plastics.

By using plastic in packaging, American product manufacturers save enough energy each year to power a city of 1 million homes for three and a half years.

The post-consumer plastics recycling industry provides jobs for more than 52,000 American workers.

Clothing/Textiles
In one year an estimated seven million tons of clothing and other textiles are thrown away. Only 12 percent are reused or recycled!

Textile recycling provides raw materials for upholstery, for filling mattresses, for wadding and other absorbent products, and for the manufacture of felt as well as fibre from which new cloth can be made.
Sources: Aluminum Recycling, American Forest and Paper Association Recycling, Environmental News Network (ENN.com), EPA, plasticsresource.com, Bureau of International Recycling.
as quoted in "
FunFacts"


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Midwife

Paramedic

Teacher

Dentist

physio

Optometrist

Chaplain

Nurse

Child Care Worker

Social Worker

Real Estate Agent

Special Care Worker

Chiropractor

Medical Practitioner

Ophthalmologist

Audiologist

Podiatrist

Medical Imaging Technologist

  Speech Pathologist

Occupational Therapist

Natural Therapist

Prosthetist

SES Officer

Art Therapist

Dermatologist

Psychiatrist

Plastic or Reconstructive Surgeon

acupuncturist

Osteopath

Paediatrician

Neurologist

Indigenous Community Worker

Oncologist

Sports Doctor

Retirement Nursing Home Manager

Vet

Firefighter

Garbage Collector

Midwife

Paramedic

Teacher

Dentist

physio

Optometrist

Chaplain

Nurse

Child Care Worker