Garbage Collector Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Garbage Collector Do?

Garbage collectors pick up trash and recycling, and then transport it to a sorting facility, landfill, or recycling center. They may pick up trash from residential or commercial buildings. A garbage collector will either pick up the trash cans physically or by operating a truck. They may have specific routes they drive along throughout the week, or respond to calls as they are received.

This job can be very physically demanding, and garbage collectors must be willing to work in uncomfortable positions and lift heavy objects. They will also work outdoors in all types of weather conditions. Garbage collection ensures clean and sanitary environments, therefore these individuals must be conscientious while working and passionate about helping their community.

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National Average Salary

Garbage collector salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Garbage Collector is:


Garbage Collector Job Descriptions

Example 1


  • Riding on the back of garbage collection truck collecting solid waste on a designated route.
  • Directing driver when pulling out in traffic and backing up, and directing incoming vehicles to dumping area at solid waste disposal facilities.
  • Knowledge of standardized work routines used for manual tasks and operation of collection vehicles in solid waste operations.
  • Checking operating and safety conditions of vehicles, performing minor servicing, and reporting needed repairs or servicing.
  • Assisting driver with various tasks during waste runs.
  • Be able to lift 100+lbs many times throughout the day.
  • Be able to work in all weather conditions.

Job requirements

  • Must be 18 or older Ability to lift 50lbs or more continuously during route.
  • Able to work in inclement weather.
  • Physically demanding work.
  • Deep knowledge of work routines and procedures in collecting solid waste materials for disposal, reuse, and recycling.
  • Ability to carry, reach, bend, push, pull, and climb during route.

Example 2

ABC Company is hiring for a Part Time Apartment Trash Collector (Service Valet) to work during the evening hours in your local area. This is a great paying, part time job that is a great way to earn extra money or supplement income while working another job. You’ll enjoy working outdoors, on your own, in a stress-free environment and get a workout while you do this job. We are an essential business that continues to grow, and our associates benefit from reliable hours, consistent pay, and promotional advancement opportunities.

We offer an immediate start date and provide hands on, paid training. No experience is necessary.


  • Collect trash and recycling bags door to door within a local apartment community and take these items to the trash compactor or dumpster on the property site (no large or bulk items and no offsite driving and/or dumping)
  • Typically work 5 nights a week from Sunday through Thursday. Enjoy weekends off!
  • Work 2-3 hours per night, start time is either 7:00pm or 8:00pm and you are done between 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm (some positions may have earlier start/end times and Sundays may require more hours)
  • Part time hours working 10-15+ hours per week


  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Ability to work indoors or outdoors in changing weather conditions
  • Ability to lift and transport up to 50 lbs.
  • A smart phone with data plan to access our mobile app
  • An open bed pickup truck or vehicle with trailer is preferred
  • A valid driver’s license is preferred
  • Current auto insurance in your name for your vehicle, or listed as a driver on policy is preferred

Example 3

Position summary:

This position is responsible for heavy manual work in the collection and disposal of solid waste.

Essential duties and responsibilities: 

  • Handles, carries and empties receptacles and bags containing solid waste.
  • Handles and carries yard trash such as limbs and leaves.
  • Deposits waste into a collection vehicle.
  • Operates compaction mechanism of the vehicle.
  • Rides on a platform on the collection vehicle between stops, frequently stepping off and on the step
  • Operates one or more of the following occasionally on an assigned basis:
    • Pick-up trucks, some with automated lift gate
    • Lawn maintenance equipment
  • Collect litter manually on a daily basis using hands and hand operated tools, in numerous city owned parks and along city road right of ways. This includes any type of litter or debris that is found in these areas, including but not limited to cigarette butts and tires. The dumping of garbage from heavy duty plastic or light metal garbage cans located in these areas may also be required. Litter will be placed in plastic bags and disposed of into city owned trash dumpsters.
  • Occasionally, work may include the pick-up and proper disposal of dead animals.
  • The work will be performed regardless of weather conditions, which at times may be adverse, except in extreme cases.
  • Protective safety vest will be provided by the City.
  • Walking for prolonged periods of time over rough terrain is also performed.

Knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • Ability to read, understand and implement instructions
  • Ability to perform heavy manual labor

Education and experience:

  • Graduation from high school or possession of a GED certificate; and any equivalent combination of education, training and experience that would reasonably be expected to provide the job-related competencies noted above.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Tell me about your qualifications for and your experience handling vehicles and/or mechanized equipment.
  • How do you stay fit in order to perform physical activities that are required in the workplace?
  • Share an experience in which you’ve successfully learned how to handle a new piece of equipment.
  • Provide an experience in which you inspected trucks to ensure safe operating conditions.
  • Share an effective method you have used to stay up to date with road and weather conditions.

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