How do I Become a Waste Collector?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2020
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The requirements for becoming a waste collector may vary from country to country. In fact, there may be requirement variations in different regions of the same country as well. In most places, however, a waste collector must be a legal adult, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and have a driver’s license. Often, an individual interested in this job will also need a clean criminal record and satisfactory results on a drug screening test if he wants to become a waste collector.

A waste collector is a person who drives a waste collection truck, also called a garbage truck, and removes garbage from residences, businesses, and industrial organizations. A person in this position typically picks up cans and bags of garbage, tossing the waste into the back of the garbage truck by hand. In some cases, a mechanical mechanism is used instead, lifting an entire dumpster and dumping its contents into the back of the truck, without requiring the waste collector to get out and help. After the waste collector has put the garbage into the back of the truck, it is usually compacted and taken to a specified location. For example, he may take it to a landfill or incineration plant.


There are few requirements for a person who wants to become a waste collector. Most communities only hire adults for this position and expect them to have high school educations or General Educational Development (GED) diplomas. Since driving is part of the job, a driver's license is required, and some places require special licensing to drive a garbage truck because of its size. Many employers also run checks to make sure applicants are responsible and unlikely to commit criminal acts while on the job. This may include criminal record checks and screenings to detect illegal drug use.

Besides the requirements employers have, a person who wants to become a waste collector may do well to consider the demands of the job before applying. A person who wants to become a waste collector should be prepared for dealing with garbage that falls out of cans and bags as he handles them. Likewise, insects can make handling garbage unpleasant, especially in warm weather. A waste collector may even have to deal with animals, such as rodents that have climbed into the cans and dogs on the residential properties from which they collect waste. Additionally, many places expect waste collectors to be capable of lifting at least 50 pounds (22.67 kilograms) on their own.


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