- CNN Money has reported research regarding garbage worker salaries, stating that the average annual salary for a garbage truck driver is $40,000 — while high school dropouts and high school graduates earn an average of $24,000 and $30,000 respectively, according to U.S. Education Department statistics.
- CNN Money also reported that wages for trash workers have grown 18% since the end of the recession in June 2009, compared to an average of 14% for other types of workers. According to Labor Department data, there are 50,000 more trash workers today than in 2010, as reported by CNN.
- SWANA CEO David Biderman explained to CNN that the industry offers long-term job security for workers, while many employers offer benefits such as health care coverage, 401(k) retirement accounts, and severance pay if they are to leave the job.
While collecting garbage may not be a glamorous job, it sure does pay the bills. CNN talked to two New York City garbage workers who have been in the industry for 10 years and are each making $100,000 to $112,000 a year.
"Your trash is my money," Noel Molina, 32, told CNN.
One of the reasons behind a higher-than-average pay and growing wage rates is the demand for workers in the industry. Last week, NWRA President and CEO Sharon Kneiss, along with the Association's Vice President Christopher Doherty, explained to Waste Dive that the industry is in desperate need for qualified truck drivers, along with other industry workers such as facility operators. Kneiss and Doherty explained that NWRA is pushing recruiting efforts, especially among millennials and veterans, to increase the amount of workers throughout the industry.
Other industry professionals such as Kathy Morris, director of the Waste Commission of Scott County, Iowa, echoes these concerns. "Not only has the demand for workers increased but (so has) the types of skills," Morris said to CNN.
Continued efforts to prove the benefits of employment in the waste industry while destigmatizing negative assumptions about work in the waste world will hopefully continue to grow the presence of garbage workers across North America.