A waste collector, also known as a garbageman, trashman (in the US), dustman or binman (in the UK), is a person employed by a public or private enterprise to collect and dispose of municipal solid waste (refuse) and recyclables from residential, commercial, industrial or other collection sites for further processing and waste disposal. The first known waste collectors were said to come from Britain in the 1350s, coinciding with the Black Plague and were called "rakers." Specialized waste collection vehicles (also known as garbage trucks in the US, dustbin lorries in the UK) featuring an array of automated functions are often deployed to assist waste collectors in reducing collection and transport time and for protection from exposure. Waste and recycling pickup work is physically demanding and usually exposes workers to an occupational hazard.
Health and safety hazards
Statistics show that waste collection is one of the most dangerous jobs, at times more dangerous than police work, but consistently less dangerous than commercial fishing and ranch and farm work. On-the-job hazards include broken glass, medical waste such as syringes, caustic chemicals, objects falling out of overloaded containers, diseases that may accompany solid waste, asbestos, dog attacks and pests, inhaling dust, smoke and chemical fumes, severe weather, traffic accidents, and unpleasant smells that can make someone physically sick.
Society and culture
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Many varieties of English have a range of names for waste collectors, from formal job titles for municipal employees, to colloquial and regional terms.
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Former waste collectors
- Georges St-Pierre – mixed martial artist and UFC Welterweight Champion, (worked as a garbage man for 6 months)
Fictional waste collectors
- The films Blood Feast, Scanners III: The Takeover and Child's Play 3 all feature minor characters being murdered with refuse trucks
- Lala Hagoromo – from the 2019 anime Star Twinkle PreCure, collected trash for a living due to her poor skills assessment before becoming Cure Milky.
- Beach cleaner
- Curbside collection
- Fecal sludge management
- Memphis sanitation strike, USA, 1968
- Waste management
- "History of the Garbage Man". Waste and Recycling Workers Week. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
- World Bank, ILO, WaterAid, and WHO (2019). Health, Safety and Dignity of Sanitation Workers: An Initial Assessment. World Bank, Washington, DC.
- Lubin, Gus; Lincoln, Kevin (21 September 2011). "The 15 Most Dangerous Jobs In America". Business Insider. No. 7: Refuse and recyclable material collectors. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
- Holbrook, Emily (20 September 2011). "The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America – Risk Management Monitor". Risk Management Monitor. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
- "The silence of the bottle-oh". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. 15 December 1951. p. 2. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
- Sun, Baltimore. "Welcome to the MMA Insider blog on baltimoresun.com".
- Voytko, Eric (2016). "Refuse trucks on film". Classic Refuse Trucks. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
- Star Twinkle PreCure episode 29
- Mechanical – Skilled Occupations: Refuse Collectors (PDF). California Occupational Guide. State of California, Employment Development Department. 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2019.