Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors
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Overview
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Collect and dump refuse or recyclable materials from containers into truck. May drive truck.
Titles for this career often contain these words
DriverTruckCollectorGarbageTrashSanitationWorkerResidentialCommercialCollectionsFrontLoadManRecyclingWasteCollectionOperatorRefuseEngineerRecycleSolidAutomatedDisposalLifterPickUpHelperRolloffAutomationReliefDumpmanLoaderFrontloadPersonJunkmanLimbRearRecyclableMaterialsRecyclerAttendantSpecialistTechnicianRubbishLaborerScrapMetalSwamperThrowerHaulerTrashmanYardWasteman
Education
Only 4% of refuse and recyclable material collectors have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by refuse and recyclable material collectors
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer refuse and recyclable material collectors have bachelor's degrees than 90% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Refuse and recyclable material collectors, with 133,000 workers, form a larger workforce than 69% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for refuse and recyclable material collectors are expected to grow by 8%, and should have about 20,200 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Refuse and recyclable material collectors are more likely to be automated than 81% of other careers.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for refuse and recyclable material collectors compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most refuse and recyclable material collectors earn.
$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Gender
Women account for 9% of refuse and recyclable material collectors -- that's a smaller percentage than 82% of other jobs.
Gender of refuse and recyclable material collectors
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For refuse and recyclable material collectors, the median men's salary was 20% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 29% of refuse and recyclable material collectors are minority, and 22% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of refuse and recyclable material collectors
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (22%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of refuse and recyclable material collectors who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Contaminants (100%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment (72%)
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (62%)
  • Time Pressure (57%)
  • Consequence of Error (55%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (54%)
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings (48%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions (41%)
  • Degree of Automation (38%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (36%)
  • Exposed to Whole Body Vibration (32%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (32%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do refuse and recyclable material collectors earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for refuse and recyclable material collectors (BLS Salary Data)
$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for refuse and recyclable material collectors (ACS Salary Data)
$31K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$31K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $34KAll jobs' median $45K$31K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire refuse and recyclable material collectors.
Employers of Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors (ACS)
Private for-profit (60.2%)
Private not-for-profit (2.4%)
Local government (26.4%)
State government (1.7%)
Federal government (1.0%)
Self-employed incorporated (1.1%)
Self-employed not incorporated (7.0%)
Working without pay (0.3%)
Distribution: Salaries of refuse and recyclable material collectors by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$31K$29K$41K$20K$48K$47K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentLocal governmentPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of refuse and recyclable material collectors by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$38K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for refuse and recyclable material collectors

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$21K$33K$36K$33K$25K$36K$38K$31K$33K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
02K4K6K8K10K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Refuse and recyclable material collectors and gender

With 9% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 82% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
9%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Refuse and recyclable material collectors
Men (91%)
Women (9%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for refuse and recyclable material collectors tops that, with the median salary for men 20% higher than the median salary for women.

$26K$32K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Refuse and recyclable material collectors have one of the more significant inequity issues, with the increase in men's median salary over women's median salary even higher than that for 60% of other jobs.

20%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of refuse and recyclable material collectors

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a higher percentage of minority refuse and recyclable material collectors than for 83% of other careers. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of refuse and recyclable material collectors
White (62% )
Black (21% )
Other (10% )
Multiracial (3% )
Hispanic (2% )
Asian (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
29%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
22%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for refuse and recyclable material collectors by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$24K$27K$27K$30K$32K$35K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KHispanicAmerican IndianOtherBlackWhiteMultiracial
Distribution: Salaries for refuse and recyclable material collectors by nativity
$26K$33K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Refuse and recyclable material collectors and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 22% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 71% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
22%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time refuse and recyclable material collectors is shown following.

$7K$31K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by refuse and recyclable material collectors

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), refuse and recyclable material collectors typically hold no formal educational credential.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as refuse and recyclable material collectors as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for refuse and recyclable material collectors

There are no formal educational requirements for anyone to become a hand laborer or material mover.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for refuse and recyclable material collectors

Refuse and recyclable material collectors who drive trucks that exceed a certain capacity—such as vehicles with the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo exceeding 26,000 pounds—must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Obtaining a CDL requires passing written, skill, and vision tests.

Education attained by refuse and recyclable material collectors
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for refuse and recyclable material collectors? Below we see the distribution of refuse and recyclable material collectors salaries based on the education attained.

$24K$32K$35K$43K$43K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KNone (23%)High School (50%)Some College (18%)Associate's/Cert. (5%)Bachelor's Degree (3%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Switching Careers
The most common next careers for refuse and recyclable material collectors

What jobs will most refuse and recyclable material collectors hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of refuse and recyclable material collectors reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Refuse and Recyclable Material CollectorsDriver/sales workers and truck driversBuilding CleanersLaborers and Freight, Stock, and By-Hand Material MoversSpecialized production workers, including computer-controlled tooloperatorsHazardous Materials Removal WorkersRetail SalespersonsWaiters and WaitressesGrounds maintenance workersChief executives and legislatorsMaids and Housekeeping CleanersFirst-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales WorkersSpecialized ManagersFirst-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving WorkersCustomer Service Representatives
Lateral job transitions for refuse and recyclable material collectors

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 6 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as refuse and recyclable material collectors as well as 1% of respondents after working as refuse and recyclable material collectors. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for refuse and recyclable material collectors: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as refuse and recyclable material collectors? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of refuse and recyclable material collectors surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most refuse and recyclable material collectors? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as refuse and recyclable material collectors. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.51.01.52.02.5
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where refuse and recyclable material collectors earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for refuse and recyclable material collectors compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for refuse and recyclable material collectors.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Location-adjusted median salary for Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which refuse and recyclable material collectors earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?