Waste collector

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Waste collectors in Aix-en-Provence, France

A waste collector, also known as a garbageman, garbage collector, trashman (in the US), binman or (rarely) dustman (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. Specialised waste collection vehicles (also known as garbage trucks in the US, bin 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.

The first known waste collectors were said to come from Britain in the 1350s, coinciding with the Black Plague and were called "rakers."[1]

A related occupation is that of a sanitation worker who operates and maintains sanitation technology.[2]: 2 

Waste collectors cleaning the Naviglio Grande in Milan, Italy

Health and safety hazards[edit]

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.[3][4]

Society and culture[edit]

Regional names[edit]

Many varieties of English have a range of names for waste collectors, from formal job titles for municipal employees, to colloquial and regional terms.

Australian English: American and Canadian English: British and Irish English:
Garbage man

Garbage collector



Former waste collectors[edit]

Fictional waste collectors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Australian term garbo stems from a now-disused street cry used by garbagemen during the early 20th century.[5]


  1. ^ "History of the Garbage Man". Waste and Recycling Workers Week. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  2. ^ World Bank, ILO, WaterAid, and WHO (2019). Health, Safety and Dignity of Sanitation Workers: An Initial Assessment. World Bank, Washington, DC.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Holbrook, Emily (20 September 2011). "The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America – Risk Management Monitor". Risk Management Monitor. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  5. ^ "The silence of the bottle-oh". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. 15 December 1951. p. 2. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  6. ^ Sun, Baltimore. "Welcome to the MMA Insider blog on baltimoresun.com".
  7. ^ Voytko, Eric (2016). "Refuse trucks on film". Classic Refuse Trucks. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  8. ^ Star Twinkle PreCure episode 29

Further reading[edit]