Work in Waste Management

Work in Waste Management

Nobody says they're glamorous, but jobs in waste management hold appeal for some.

"It's a good job, and it's a hard job," says Michael A. Bimonte, first deputy commissioner for the New York City Department of Sanitation, who has risen through the ranks from driving sanitation trucks to his high-level position in city government. "People don't like to see the police department coming or the fire department, but they love seeing the sanitation men come."

Salary and Benefits

Wages vary by geographic area and the refuse and recyclable collector's duties. But on average, the salary for a waste collector can run somewhere between $15,000 to $49,000, according to 2005 data from the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Among the top paying states is New York, with a mean wage of close to $41,000. Among the lower paying states is South Carolina, with an annual mean wage around $19,000.

Full-time trash and recyclable material collectors usually receive benefits, which typically include paid vacation, health insurance and sick leave. Some employers, such as San Francisco-based Norcal Waste Systems Inc., also offer retirement plans.


Job growth also looks good. According to the US Department of Labor, trash and recyclable material collection jobs should increase almost 17 percent through 2012. Population growth means more waste will be created. A mitigating factor is that trash companies are trying to reduce costs, so they may not necessarily hire many new employees. Instead, current employees may work longer hours.

But trash and recyclable material collectors also vacate those positions as they move up in rank. "We are seeing significant demand in several areas," says Derrick Hamilton, staffing director for Houston-based Waste Management Inc. "The largest single area today is the heavy diesel engine maintenance technician role. We see significant, ongoing opportunity for maintenance technicians in the foreseeable future."


You could choose to seek work with private waste-management companies like Waste Management or with your local city sanitation department. In either case, the basic job requirements include being 18 years of age, possessing a high-school diploma or equivalent and having a valid Class B driver's license, which allows you to drive 15,000-pound vehicles.

Robert Reed, a spokesman for Norcal, cites the following additional requirements for an aspiring waste-management worker:

  • A good driving record.
  • The ability to lift 50 pounds to a height of four feet and the ability to maneuver up to 150 lbs.

Desired personal attributes include:

  • An eagerness to perform hard work.
  • A love of driving.
  • The ability to work in all types of weather.
  • Openness to experiencing various sights, sounds and smells.
  • A willingness to get dirty.
  • The capability of working alone throughout the day.
  • Interest in the environment.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with added emphasis on customer service.

Training and Advancement

You will be trained in operating and maintaining the garbage trucks, writing reports and simulating an actual collection route, says Bimonte. You may also have periodic training updates, depending on your region; in New York City, for instance, new workers are trained to work in a variety of weather conditions. Within a certain category (i.e., waste haulers), you can advance in five-year increments to the top of your wage scale. You can also apply for higher-level positions.


In New York City, trash and recyclable material collectors have found abandoned babies, corpses and valuables in the trash and have even helped save people from burning houses. It's a potentially dangerous job. "You have to be on your toes," says Bimonte. "We had one worker killed, because someone emptied a container of hydrochloric acid in the trash."

On the other hand, waste management can be rewarding. Companies like Norcal are pushing ahead with environmental programs that involve activities such as taking food scraps from restaurants and composting them for vineyards and organic farms.

Latest Jobs

Mac Tools
Posted: 05/29/2015
Kforce Inc
Posted: 05/29/2015
Cockeysville, MD, 21030
Tifco Industries, Inc.
Posted: 05/29/2015
Albuquerque, NM
Kforce Inc
Posted: 05/29/2015
Baltimore, MD, 21202
Kforce Inc
Posted: 05/29/2015
Lewisville, TX, 75056

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-307