Bin worker

Refuse collector, waste operative, recycling collector

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Bin workers remove waste and recyclables from homes and businesses for disposal or recycling.

Salary range: £15,000 to £25,000

How to become a bin worker

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship in sustainable resource management or waste collection.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

You could apply directly to job vacancies. Employers set their own entry requirements.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work on your own
  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • be over 18 years of age

You’ll need a large goods vehicle (LGV) licence to work as a bin collection or waste collection driver.

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • moving bags, bins and recycling bins and boxes
  • using a lifting mechanism to tip the waste from bins into the lorry
  • throwing plastic bags into the back of the lorry
  • crushing the waste
  • sorting recyclable materials at the kerbside
  • guiding the driver safely around streets
  • reporting any problems with waste collections
  • helping to unload the waste at designated facilities
  • recording the amount of waste collected

Working environment

You could work in the community or at a waste recycling site.

Your working environment may be dirty, physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to team leader or supervisor.

With further training you could become a waste management officer or recycling officer.

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