24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (2022)


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (1)Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock

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.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (2)Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock

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.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (3)Svitlana Pimenov/Shutterstock

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.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (4)Edward007/Shutterstock

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.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (5)pan kung/Shutterstock

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.

(Video) 24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (6)Africa Studio/Shutterstock

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.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (7)ElenaR/Shutterstock

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.)


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (8)Lorna Roberts/Shutterstock

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.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (9)Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock

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.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (10)Amy Johansson/shutterstock

Think about where you park on pickup day

Our biggest pet peeve: people who park in front of their containers. If we’re driving a one-person truck with an automated arm, we have to get out and move your bin, so your pickup takes twice as long.

(Video) The garbage collector / Maya Rosecrance


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (11)Christopher Boswell/Shutterstock

We’re being timed

Every route is budgeted a certain number of hours for completion; if we come in over that, our bosses question us to make sure we’re not just angling for overtime. There are also cameras and GPS in some of the trucks so garbage collectors can be monitored at all times.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (12)lOvE lOvE/Shutterstock

We can help if you forget to put the trash out

We know sometimes it can be tough to get your cans out early. If you miss the pickup, give us a call and we may be able to swing back and get it. Some towns have a “complaint truck” that does a late run to grab anything that’s left.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (13)Dmitri Ma/Shutterstock

We always appreciate a nice drink

Please, we would love a drink of water on a 100-degree day. If it’s freezing outside, offer your garbage collector some coffee. It’s a simple gesture, but it’ll rocket you onto our list of favorite customers. Don’t miss these 23 things your mail carrier won’t tell you while you’re at it.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (14)Hayk Shalunts/Shutterstock

We are always watching for homeless people

Sometimes, when my truck lifts up a dumpster, I’ll hear yelling and banging—and a homeless person will pop up out of there. When it’s cold or wet outside, they see the bins as a nice warm place to get out of the rain.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (15)Maciej Bledowski/Shutterstock

Don’t blame us if you find trash splayed across your lawn

That usually means that your roll cart was facing the wrong way. Our automated arm can still pick it up, but when we dump your garbage into the truck, some of it stacks on the underside of the open lid. Then, when we put the can down, the lid is like a catapult and it shoots trash everywhere. (Look for arrows on your cart showing which side should face the street.)

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24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (16)Atsushi Hirao/Shutterstock

Most of the time, if you’ve thrown something away, it’s gone

But one time we had a woman who called us, freaking out, because her child with special needs had thrown out a grocery bag that had his medication, her checkbook and some money. She wanted to know if there was any way to retrieve the bag. Well, the truck had already picked up the trash from about 1,000 homes on that route. How were we going to find the one bag? But we decided to try. We had the truck dump in a special area, recruited some other garbage collectors, spread everything out and started searching. It took an hour and half, but we actually found it. Check out these 11 “disposables” you should stop buying now.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (17)Y Photo Studio/Shutterstock

Bag it! I repeat, bag it!

Your bin will last longer and smell better, and you’ll make your garbage collector a happy man. And speaking of bags, we always know when you buy the cheap ones. They bust apart as soon as we lift them. Here are the craziest things garbage collectors have found in the trash.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (18)IkeHayden/Shutterstock

Know what’s not allowed

Remember, in most towns these things are not allowed in the trash: gallons of paint, fluorescent light bulbs, motor oil and cast-off electronics (televisions, computers). Unfortunately, it’s tough for us to catch if you bag them up. So we appeal to your conscience by reminding you that those items contain toxic substances that contaminate groundwater. Instead, take them to a hazardous materials facility that will dispose of them safely. Avoid putting these things down your drain.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (19)ESUN7756/Shutterstock

Most of us genuinely love what we do

We like being out and about and physically active instead of stuck in an office. We like taking care of people, and serving the public. And hey, we’ve have great job security: this is one job that can’t be outsourced overseas!


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (20)MediaGroup BestForYou/Shutterstock

We accept tips

You give a tip to your mailman and newspaper carrier… why not the trash collector? Official policies on tips vary, but most of garbage collectors will accept them. Some folks tape an envelope to their bins. Or you can leave a note that says “Ring the bell. We have a tip for you.’”

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24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (21)MakDill/shutterstock

Sometimes things do mix in the truck, and we see bubbling or steam from a chemical reaction

On occasion, our trucks actually catch on fire. It’s typically because a farmer dumped in some kind of highly toxic pesticide. When a fire starts, we have to drive around trying to find to a safe spot to dump. You don’t want to be the one who loses a $250,000 garbage truck.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (22)Simona 86/Shutterstock

We’re not all streamlined

Many of today’s garbage-collecting machines are efficient, high-tech affairs with GPS, air-conditioning and a mechanical arm to pick up your wheeled cart. But you will still find traditional, rear-loader trucks with men hanging off the back in most big cities, because we haven’t figured out how to streamline service in those areas.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (23)Travis Wolfe/Shutterstock

Does it smell bad?

You better believe it. Especially on a hot day when the trash is filled with maggots and rodents. You wear gloves, try not to breathe too deep and get it done as fast as you can.


24 Things Your Garbage Collector Wants You to Know (24)Helens Photos/Shutterstock

In some states, we’re not allowed to pick up your old mattress

Because they’re bulky and hard to crush, they fill up landfills quick. Find a mattress recycler at mattressrecyclingcouncil.org. Next, don’t miss these 12 secrets your housecleaner knows about you.

Originally Published: June 26, 2018

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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Sources: Garbage collectors Jaime Queroz in Chicago; Maurice Queen in Washington, DC; and Isaac Kulikoff and Bryan Metzler of Mid Valley Disposal in California


What is the importance of garbage collector? ›

The garbage collector provides the following benefits: Frees developers from having to manually release memory. Allocates objects on the managed heap efficiently. Reclaims objects that are no longer being used, clears their memory, and keeps the memory available for future allocations.

What is the proper name for garbage man? ›

A waste collector, also known as a garbageman, garbage collector, trashman (in the US), binman or (rarely) dustman (in the UK), is a person employed by a public or private enterprise to collect and dispose of municipal solid waste (refuse) and recyclables from residential, commercial, industrial or other collection ...

How much do garbage men make a year? ›

How Much Does a Garbage Collector Make? Garbage Collectors made a median salary of $39,100 in 2020. The best-paid 25 percent made $51,530 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $30,180.

Should you tip your garbage collector? ›

Those are people who help you every day, like your garbage collector, mail carrier, housekeepers or babysitters. Etiquette experts suggest tipping garbage collectors $20-$30.

What skills do you need to be a garbage man? ›

Physical strength and stamina are also necessary, as you work on your feet and may lift heavy objects most of the day. You typically work for a supervisor, so excellent listening and verbal communication skills are also essential for carrying out your responsibilities.

What type of waste is the garbage collector collecting? ›

A garbage collector collects food wrappers and aluminum cans from a park.

What's a nice way of saying diarrhea? ›

1 Less Is Better

If you're talking with a medical professional and you are uncomfortable using the word "diarrhea," you may want to say, "I have loose stool," or "I have the runs," and your healthcare provider will know what you're talking about.

What is a garbage man called in England? ›

Refuse is a formal word and is used in both British English and North American English. Refuse collector is the formal word for a dustman or garbage collector.

What are Dustmen called now? ›

Alternative titles for this job include Refuse collector, waste operative, recycling collector, bin loader. Bin workers remove waste and recycling from homes or businesses.

How many hours do garbage collectors work? ›

Collectors generally work 8-hour shifts starting at 5 or 6 a.m., though longer shifts are not uncommon. They may also work on holidays or weekends as needed. Refuse Collectors usually wear protective clothes that their company provides, but may still get dirty.

What is the highest paying job? ›


Is being a garbage man a good job? ›

Garbage Collectors rank #26 in Best Social Services Jobs. Jobs are ranked according to their ability to offer an elusive mix of factors.

How do you tip the mailman? ›

Under federal regulations, you can "tip" your mail carrier with a gift that is worth $20 or less per occasion, this includes Christmas, according to the USPS. Federal employees are not allowed to accept gifts that are worth more than $50 from any customer during one calendar year period.

How much should you tip Christmas? ›

Up to one week's pay and/or a gift. According to the CreditCards.com poll, 47 percent of U.S. adults who have a housekeeper said they gave them a tip during the holidays, an average of $50. One week's pay and/or a gift.

How much do you give sanitation workers for Christmas? ›

Tutor: Equivalent to one service, or one week if they come more often. Mail carrier: Gift of no more than $20, per government regulations. Sanitation worker: $10 to $30 (more common in suburbs)

What does a garbage collector do Java? ›

Java applications obtain objects in memory as needed. It is the task of garbage collection (GC) in the Java virtual machine (JVM) to automatically determine what memory is no longer being used by a Java application and to recycle this memory for other uses.

What do you mean by 3 Rs? ›

The 3R Initiative aims to promote the "3Rs" (reduce, reuse and recycle) globally so as to build a sound-material-cycle society through the effective use of resources and materials.

How do you manage garbage collection? ›

There are two ways to do it :
  1. Using System. gc() method: System class contain static method gc() for requesting JVM to run Garbage Collector.
  2. Using Runtime. getRuntime(). ...
  3. There is no guarantee that any of the above two methods will run Garbage Collector.
  4. The call System.
Feb 14, 2022

Who invented garbage collection? ›

In computer programming, garbage collection is a form of automatic memory management invented by John McCarthy in the 1950s, as part of his development of Lisp.

What means garbage collector? ›

A garbage collector is a person whose job is to take people's garbage away.

How do garbage collectors work? ›

They pick up either garbage for dumping at transfer stations and certified landfills, or recyclable materials for deposit at recycling sites. Most Collectors work alone, driving a truck and using the truck's hydraulic lift to pick up and empty trash and recycling bins, cans, carts and big dumpsters.

What is the purpose of a garbage collector Java? ›

The biggest benefit of Java garbage collection is that it automatically handles the deletion of unused objects or objects that are out of reach to free up vital memory resources. Programmers working in languages without garbage collection (like C and C++) must implement manual memory management in their code.

What is the role of garbage collector in Java Mcq? ›

Q) Garbage collection in Java is

Unused package in a program automatically gets deleted. Memory occupied by objects with no reference is automatically reclaimed for deletion. Java deletes all unused java files on the system. The JVM cleans output of Java program.


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