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Refuse Collector Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Refuse Collector. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Refuse Collector
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Refuse Collector Work Information

    Finding Suitable Work

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    Working Duties Expected

    Refuse collection operatives collect waste from homes and businesses and load it into refuse collection vehicles. The refuse is emptied into specially adapted vehicles and then the bins are returned to the premises. They work in a small team including a driver. Each day the team has to collect the rubbish from a certain number of properties.

    In addition to normal collections, refuse collection operatives may deliver and collect skips, recyclable waste, furniture and other large items, loading them on to a truck and unloading them at the disposal site or recycling facility. Some companies specialise in removal of waste that could be dangerous or has to be disposed of in a particular way. Examples are healthcare waste from hospitals, and waste in liquid form such as oil and other chemicals. In such cases, drivers and operatives involved receive special training.

    Hours and Environment
    Most refuse collection operatives work Monday to Friday, between 37 and 40 hours per week. Hours are often between 7am and 3.30 pm. Overtime may be available.

    Refuse collection operatives work outdoors, in all weather conditions. The work is active and involves lifting, bending and carrying heavy bags, so operatives must be physically fit. Safety clothing, such as heavy duty gloves, reflective jackets, safety trousers and steel toe capped boots may be provided.

    Skills and Interests
    As a refuse collection operative you should be:

    • physically fit and strong enough to work at a fast pace and to lift bags of rubbish
    • able to work co-operatively in a small team
    • courteous when dealing with members of the public
    • hardworking and responsible, to complete the job to a high standard
    • safety conscious and aware of the dangers from the moving machinery of the collection vehicle and from traffic
    • co-ordinated enough to attach bins quickly and accurately to the vehicle.

    No formal qualifications are required. The minimum age for entry is 18, for health and safety reasons. Mature applicants are welcomed, provided they are physically fit and strong enough to do the job.

    Before starting work, you are trained in health and safety, including safe lifting, and in basic tasks such as attaching the bins to the collection vehicle. You continue to learn the job with the help of members of the team.

    Once employed, you can work towards NVQs/SVQs in Waste Management Operations at Levels 1-4. Refuse collectors can work towards NVQ/SVQ Levels 1 and 2 in Waste Collection and in Waste Management Operations.

    Supervisors can work towards NVQ/SVQ Level 3 in Waste Management Supervision, and managers can work towards NVQ/SVQ Level 4 in Managing Waste Collection Operations.

    Local authorities and commercial waste management companies throughout the United Kingdom employ refuse collection operatives.

    Refuse collection operatives can become a driver by gaining a LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) licence. In some areas, employers may subsidise their LGV training. It is also possible to progress to become a team leader, a supervisor and a manager.

    In local authorities refuse collectors could move on to other manual jobs within the council.

    Annual Income
    The annual income section is intended as a guideline only.

    Refuse collection operatives earn between £11,000 and £17,000.
    Drivers earn bbetween £15,000 and £20,000.
    Supervisors earn from £17,000 to £25,000.
    Paid overtime may be possible.

    Further information
    Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)
    9 Saxon Court
    St Peters Gardens
    NN1 1SX
    Tel: 01604 620426

    Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB)
    Peterbridge House
    3 The Lakes
    NN4 7HE
    Tel: 01604 231950

    LGcareers *
    Layden House
    76-86 Turnmill Street
    EC1M 5LG
    Tel: 020 7296 6503

    National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

    The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

  • Other Useful Refuse Collector Work Information

    We have a section available at this site on Refuse Collector job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

    Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
    Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

    Details of other Refuse Collector Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
    Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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