How To Become a Garbage Truck Driver

Garbage truck drivers and collectors are also known as sanitation workers, garbage men and garbage collectors. These are people who are charged with the responsibility of driving around garbage trucks and collecting the waste material from house and business premises for onward disposal to the designated areas such as waste management facilities or recycling centers. Often, they work in groups of 3. However, the trend is changing with smaller teams of two people being put together for efficiency. As such, while one of the drivers handles the vehicle, the other collects the garbage from the garbage bins and places them in the truck. Often, the rota changes in such a way that at one time an individual drives and at another time he or she picks the garbage. However, different firms have different systems that suit their ways of operation. In fact, in some areas, the garbage is normally collected at a central point where the garbage truck driver, working alone, stops over to collect them.

Salary scale

In the USA, the average salary of a garbage truck driver is $34,290 per annum. However, some of the companies may pay more while other may pay less. According to statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly rate for garbage truck drivers in the country is $16.49. Even so, the garbage truck driver is normally expected to behave with more decorum than other truck drivers. This is because the truck drivers often have better technology with which to use and less stressful working conditions. In addition, the fact that they rarely meet their clients means that there is less chance for them to cross paths with the clientele. However, shady work is easily noticeable and may lead to the loss of the contract for the company.

Public service

Usually, garbage collection is a public service that is offered by the councils to their residents. As such, the state, through the respective departments under its charge may decide to run its own fleet of garbage collectors or employ the services of private contractors. Often, there are no formal academic qualifications that one needs to acquire this job. However, proficiency in the handling of commercial trucks is required before you can be approved as a garbage truck driver. In addition to the commercial driving license, the driver may also be required to have no criminal record and maintain a clean driving record for a specified period of time.


Garbage is normally collected very early in the morning before people wake up. This is a strategic move by the garbage collecting departments to avoid getting into the traffic caused by other day to day business. In this way, the garbage truck drivers do not usually run the risk of meeting up with school going children or people heading to their work places. As such, the schedule of garbage collection is normally designed in a way that will see the collection and delivery of the garbage to the waste management centre move on without much hustle. This also reduces the cost of doing business since the trucks spend less time on the road thereby saving on fuel.

Garbage collection is both a physically and mentally demanding job. You will be required to be physically fit and ready to take on the job. You will also be required to set you mind towards the performance of your duties. Some of the jobs may require special gear since the material being dumped is toxic and it is important to follow company policies when handling such waste product. Protecting yourself from such harmful waste material should rank the highest when handling any toxic material. On the other hand, some of the waste material may be poorly packaged and fall on you. Despite the fact that such material may not be toxic, proper hygiene is required of you if you are to remain healthy. In addition, some of the times you will be expected to work in all kinds of conditions. Some of the weather conditions may not be favourable. However, unlike other jobs, garbage collection cannot be postponed and as such, physical fitness and ability to endure the worst kind of working conditions is required. You will also be required to lift some of the heavy loads that clients put out for disposal.

In some of the states, garbage truck drivers are normally assigned a variety of duties including driving sanding trucks and cleaning the ice from the roads. These jobs require that you are physically fit and healthy. They also require a lot of commitment if you are to discharge your duties properly. The commercial driver’s license that is normally given to the truck drivers allows them to operate a large number of heavy commercial vehicles that other licenses do not allow. This is an advantage as it helps build the driver’s resume in case he or she seeks out another job opportunity.

The terms of employment for garbage truck drivers usually varies from one place to the next and from one state to the next. However, with proper qualifications, you can export your skill set to any of the states that seeks out your services. In essence, this makes the garbage truck drivers very marketable. The jobs are commonly advised on the local council website and provide an avenue for the state to create jobs for the lower class residents in the area.


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