Unseen Benefits: The Garbage Man

oscar the grouch sundae

Just because I’m slightly insane, I’m going to start this article with the biggest cliché pertaining to waste disposal: It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. Oh man, that felt good, just knowing someone is sitting in their office or at home cringing at what I did is surprisingly satisfying.

So, you are looking to expand your job horizons but you aren’t sure what field to go into. Well, this article will attempt to open your mind and eyes to one the most repulsive picks of the job pool: waste management. Sure it’s hard work with early mornings and involves offensive aromas, but there are some unseen benefits too.

The whole point of this article really is to highlight the hidden benefits of becoming a garbage man or woman (sorry garbage person, although, more politically correct sounds more like a person made of garbage than a person that disposes of it). Also for the sake of this article there won’t be a distinction of recyclable waste management workers or household waste workers, due to the overlap of the two jobs.

No boss, no problem


Most jobs have a boss, a boss’ boss and a boss’ boss’ boss. That seems immensely complex and convoluted, but it’s simple. Take the guy that yells at you, let’s call him Yeller McYellerton (since I opened with a pun I might as well continue it) Mr. McYellerton has an even louder person yelling at him called Holler Yellenski. Well, the chain doesn’t stop there; Yellenski has yet a louder screamer screaming at him called Screamo Loudscreamicci (he’s Italian so he also aggressively waves his hands and does the upside down pitch).

When you work in waste disposal though you are pretty much your own boss, once you’re trained. Sure you’ll have specific hours that you have to be on the job, but other than that, if you blaze through your route, you can clock out early. Also, you get to hang off the side of a truck which is pretty much like being in a standup convertible, and that is in its own right a huge perk.

No degree, no problem


There are few jobs in the world that will pay someone without experience or a college degree or certificate $50.000 per year plus an attractive benefits package and a signing bonus. You do not need any credentials other than “can lift relatively heavy items into the back of a truck” to be a waste disposal worker. Even jobs such as plumbers, construction workers, and sales representatives need a few years of experience to start earning high salaries. Not you though my friend, you start at 50k and can only move up from there. Only on the merit and ability to lift things into the back of a truck!

Trash, no problem


Here’s another unsanctioned but pretty widely known perk of being a garbage man/woman, they find all kinds of valuable items in the trash. Collectively we are idiots; no statistic proves it better than the fact that we drop $3.08 billion (yes billion) worth of change. Although most of it is dropped outside, it can find its way into garbage via those huge, powerful carwash vacuums, crumpled up in receipts and accidentally throwing it away with the vacuum bag. OK, so it would be a little hard to sift through refuse as you are hanging off the back of a truck, but I’m an idea man, I’ll let you figure out the logistics.

In a more practical sense, people throw out working electronics, collectables that they don’t bother appraising and porn mags worth thousands of dollars, no seriously check it out. I mean people actually voluntarily go out and swim around in garbage (if you just want to see what the person found jump to the 5 min. mark, spoilers: he finds a freaking TV amongst other very pricey things) to find valuable items. (these are 15 of the best items this dude found) There are even people that make a living from it. As a garbage man you get the pick of the litter, and get paid to do it (well, you get paid to throw it out…but honestly it’s not like you’re going to be reprimanded for looking).

The dark side: No problem


So, apparently the thing that most people are worried about in regards to refuse disposal is the smell. I was shocked to find out that smell is actually not a big issue. Why you ask? Well the truck is constantly moving, secondly you’re on the side of it as it moves, so you have a constant flow of fresh air, and finally when you are throwing away the cans, you are in contact with it, in most cases, for no more than a few dozen seconds.

You take the cans from the curb, dump out their contents and then place them back in their original position. OK sure, you’ll find very disgusting, even disturbing things, but according to my research it seems that those are very rare occurrences. On the other hand, some of the things these people find are absolutely revolting, but I’ll spare you the nightmares. Again this is an article dedicated to benefits.

It’s dangerous, no problem


Sure it’s dangerous, with around 90 on the job deaths per 100.000 employees per year and 52.7% on the job injuries that are mainly back issues and lacerations. On the other hand, the job will keep you healthy since the average garbage disposal worker will run an average of 20 miles a day. The tragic part of this statistic is that most workers die as a result of them falling or slipping off the truck and being struck by it.

Let’s put this into context, though. The job pays 50.000 dollars, compared to a fishermen’s’ $36.900/year and 178 deaths/100.000 workers per year and loggers’ $34.000/year and 156. So not only do waste collectors have a less hazardous job, that pays more they aren’t as stringent with their hiring compared to fishermen and loggers. Fishermen and loggers are usually very selective with their candidates because one dud could result in grave injury, dismemberment and death.

Do you know about any other, unforeseen benefits of working in waste management? Let me know in the comment section below!