Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors

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About the Job

Collect and dump refuse or recyclable materials from containers into truck. May drive truck.

It is also Called

  • Wasteman
  • Waste Collector
  • Truck Driver (Yard Trash)
  • Truck Driver
  • Trashman
  • Trash Truck Driver
  • Trash Man
  • Trash Hauler
  • Trash Collector
  • Thrower
View All

What They Do

  • Make special pickups of recyclable materials, such as food scraps, used oil, discarded computers, or other electronic items.
  • Sort items set out for recycling and throw materials into designated truck compartments.
  • Organize schedules for refuse collection.
  • Provide quotes for refuse collection contracts.
  • Tag garbage or recycling containers to inform customers of problems, such as excess garbage or inclusion of items that are not permitted.
  • Clean trucks or compactor bodies after routes have been completed.
  • Check road or weather conditions to determine how routes will be affected.
  • Communicate with dispatchers concerning delays, unsafe sites, accidents, equipment breakdowns, or other maintenance problems.
  • Fill out defective equipment reports.
  • Refuel trucks or add other fluids, such as oil or brake fluid.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: RC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests, but also prefer Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Relationships and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Education Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.


In 2017, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $37,910 with most people making between $22,780 and $54,820


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 5,670 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 6,550 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 88 openings due to growth and about 142 replacement openings for approximately 230 total annual openings.

Pennsylvania Department of Education