Published on September 8, 2022, Updated on September 8, 2022



A waste collector (garbage collector) is a public or private employee who is responsible for gathering and disposing of municipal solid waste (MSW) from homes, businesses, and other collection points. The waste collector uses garbage trucks or other specialized vehicles to collect MSWs that are sent to facilities that manage, treat, and process waste.


What are the Responsibilities of a Waste Collector?

Waste collectors commonly work in pairs. One person operates the vehicle and the other gathers the waste. The waste collector must separate rubbish that should not be included in the collection before mounting the trash can to the hydraulic lift. The job of waste collection is physically taxing due to the need for lifting and hauling. Large rubbish bins are lifted by modern garbage trucks without the assistance of the waste collector.

A waste collector begins their shift early in the morning and works in any weather condition. A waste collector is exposed to dangers such as noxious odors, dust, chemicals, fallen objects, dog attacks, smoke, and illnesses that could arise from handling rubbish.


What are the Pros of Being a Waste Collector?

These are advantages of working as a waste collector.

  • Job security
  • Stable income
  • Additional benefits, health insurance, retirement plan, life insurance
  • Essential and valuable work
  • Physical exercises


Are There Health Issues Associated with Being a Waste Collector?

Waste collectors’ duties were listed as “one of the most hazardous vocations” in a Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) assessment from 2010. The primary health and safety risks that a waste collector faces, per Lavoie and colleagues’ 2002 IRSST report, are below.

  • Ergonomic injuries like back strain
  • Cuts from materials like glass
  • Exposure to microorganisms

The health issues associated with being a waste collector are prevented by taking the necessary safety measures, such as wearing the required protective clothing. Waste collectors need to be current on their hepatitis and tetanus vaccinations. The occurrence of injuries is reduced by using good biomechanics when lifting and hauling.