What's up Reddit! I work on a Trash/Recycling Collection Truck in Northern Virginia picking up around 3000 pick ups a day. I ride the back of the truck all day and pick up Recycling Cans and Trash Cans and throw the contents into the back of a big truck for a living.

I work for American Disposal Services Inc.

Proof I think lol. Album

Our Pay Rate! So I only have to answer this question once.

Most companies pay on a day rate, I get paid 110.76 a day before 40 hours, after 40 hours it moves to an overtime hour rate of around 16$ An hour, I work around 55 hours a week and bring home around 500$ a week after my taxes and benefits.

Drivers get around 1000$ a week give or take 100 or 200$.

I have done a couple AMAs in the past but didn't get any upvotes but many questions, so upvote for visability! [No Karma for self posts ;)]

Comments: 105 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

Illinois_smith5 karma

Don't have a question but thanks for the stuff you do. When I was walking home one day a neighbor came out his house and gave the garbage men ice cold sodas, was quite nice seeing that

SubzeroMK4 karma

I love when ppl do that

InnerWrathChild5 karma

What items that were a man's trash became your treasures?

SubzeroMK8 karma

Cool 1950's Turkey Carving Knife

Um I have found a nice clock, a jewelry box

Rev_McGangBang2 karma

Ahh... I see you sneaked in a dick pic there.

SubzeroMK5 karma


kamajo89914 karma

My dad's a garbage man! 20 years!

Anyway, have you ever found something awesome or weird/gross (besides gross trash, of course) in someones trash?

Are you allowed to keep something neat you found?

Have you ever done so (given that you're able)?

SubzeroMK12 karma

Yeah I find a lot of coupons which is awesome. I find gross things all the time, I just ignore it.

We aren't supposed to keep anything, shopper hopping isn't allowed but everyone does it anyway.

Yes I have. This is the coolest thing so far, 1950's turkey carving knife

ohnikkianne4 karma

1.) How did you get into this profession? 2.) Do you like your job? 3.) What should I leave you for Christmas?

SubzeroMK6 karma

Many people just go in and apply, most of the WHITE guys have been there for YEARS and just keep going. Now its mostly South Africans and Hispanics that need jobs. EDIT; Forgot to answer question lolol. I know a bunch of the supervisors and basically asked for a job and they hired me ;)

It's not really all that bad, it's hard work, lifting 8 tons on a recycling day and upwards to 20 tons on a trash day by hand and a lot of running and jumping. Exhausting but good honest hard work.

I enjoy a 10$ bill for me and a 10$ for the driver, a nice card and a box of chocolate or bucket of cookies ;)

ohnikkianne12 karma

Good to know.

When I was a kid, instead of waiting for the mailman, I would wait for the trash man. I had a plastic play trash truck and everything. My parents were very concerned. I was fascinated!

SubzeroMK9 karma

Excellent, I have trash toys as well ;)

sgtblast1 karma

Soooo I take it you're not happy with the non-WHITE workers migrating to your profession?

SubzeroMK2 karma

Who said that? Just curious as to wear in anything I said I was not happy about working with the non-WHITE workers, I was meerly stating that being white and working at my company, you have to know someone otherwise you won't get hired.

I have no problem with the "migrating" workers, they are super hard workers and get the job done and most of them are really nice guys.

So if your insinuating that I am a racist you sir are wrong.

sgtblast2 karma

No, just clarifying the caps on WHITE...not so much a questioning if you're racist. More of a question of weither you feel THEY TOOK UR JERBBB.

SubzeroMK2 karma


trybalone3 karma

Have you or any of your co workers ever found a gun ? I have a family friend who also does what you do and he has found 3 guns in 18years.

SubzeroMK5 karma

Never found a gun, found ammunition though. I'm sure I've thrown guns, drugs and shit in the back but I don't see it.

sbaat3 karma

Do you have any plans to drive the truck?

SubzeroMK3 karma

Yes I do ... Sooon

sbaat3 karma

Nice. my dad drove a trash truck and I thought it was awesome that he drove trucks that big. I got my class b last year and I drive school buses and my daughter thinks its the best thing ever. It is really pretty easy to get. Good luck man

SubzeroMK3 karma

thanks for your kind words

schefe3 karma


SubzeroMK3 karma

Gonna put this in the main post.

Most companies pay on a day rate, I get paid 110.76 a day before 40 hours, after 40 hours it moves to an overtime hour rate of around 16$ An hour, I work around 55 hours a week and bring home around 500$ a week after my taxes and benefits.

Drivers get around 1000$ a week give or take 100 or 200$.

yajirobi2 karma

Drivers get more? I dont understand why. afair they just sit in the truck and drive it. They dont need a higher education than the guys outside plus the job is easier. There should be many more applicants for that job than for yours :/

Sure they need a special driver licence, but that shouldnt be expensive or difficult to come by.

SubzeroMK1 karma

They have to learn entire routes, every street name, how to get there the quickest, watch over their helpers all day, watch for other motorists, do paper work and no drivers sits all day, they all jump out whenever they can to help

yajirobi1 karma

do paper work

when do they do paper work? o0. they have downtimes between their stops of less than a minute. I doubt they do it afterwards? because OP says he already works 55h/week.

they all jump out whenever they

everyone wants to finish + sitting all day is boring as shit + seeing your mates work their ass off doesnt make you feel better either. i sure as hell would join them, i would feel bad otherwise :P

SubzeroMK1 karma

Most of the work gets done at stops bc it's a route sheet that tells us who didn't pay so we have to write down what time we got there. The other crap get done after. Most drivers stay upwards to another 30-45 mins after punching out to do paperwork.

Yeah they do feel bad plus we just wanna go home

yajirobi1 karma

the clients pay you in cash? :o (i take it you are talking about bigger clients, not the private clients)

i just finished watching "the sopranos". Is there any mafia stuff going on? like: this is my route now? I always thought thats total bullshit. But considering your comment, it might actually make sense :?

SubzeroMK1 karma

No ... Everything for through the company lmao. We don't have private clients. Everyone is a customer of either roll off service, front en service or rear load service. If you don't pay they put you on a credit hold and we don't pick you up. But sheet also tells us who we need to pick up for new customers

joenia3 karma

What's the weirdest thing you have seen in the garbage?

SubzeroMK3 karma


Weirdest thing ever? Not sure. Just normal trash I guess lol. I'm pretty boring on that aspect of the spectrum.

Felipe223753 karma

How long is your normal day? Is it a typical 9-5 or is it funky like a 5-1?

P.S. Fantastic proof! It's like we're there with you! Upvote for that.

SubzeroMK3 karma

Well I run from 5-5 mon 5-4 tues 5-4 wed 5-2 thurs and 5-2 Friday. All our trucks are different bc of different route lengths

YurislovSkillet3 karma

Do you actually recycle the things you pick up or send most of it to a landfill/transfer station?

SubzeroMK7 karma

Our company coming next year is opening our own Recycling Plant. As of right now everything gets taken to a transfer station where half is recycling half is trash. OR We take it to a recycling plant near the yard were everything is sorted at. It's all commingled single stream recycle. No Recycling is taken to the landfill.

BlueVerse2 karma

Does a whole days worth of pickups fit on the truck, or do you have to empty at the dump / transfer station a couple of times during a shift? How long that does that take?

SubzeroMK3 karma

Depends on the route, mon and tues for trash its like 4 loads, depends on how far away you are from the dump, dumping only takes 10 minutes but its the drive to and back.

Recycle can generally get everything on in one load. I know all 5 of my routes all get done in 1 load.

RingAnswerHello2 karma

Hey man, I can't imagine doing that. Two things come to mind: How often do you get sick? And have you ever gotten trash or trash juice in your mouth?

Edit: one to two

SubzeroMK8 karma

I don't get sick, it's not as dirty as you think, because we are moving so quick the fumes and crap don't really get to you. I only get sick in off weather.

A couple times, ew, ew, ew, EW. Gross! It was a bag of old nasty food and stuff and the blade crushed an old bottle of water I guess and it busted the bag and all the water and some contents hit me in the face and mouth. Nasty.

Gerfalcon2 karma

In my neighborhood, the trash is usually picked up by one person in a truck that can empty the cans automatically. Have you ever worried that your job might be replaced by a machine?

SubzeroMK4 karma

Nope. They did away with side loaders in my company years ago. To much of a mess, doesn't pack enough on the truck either. The rear loaders pack like 3 times more into a truck, get up routes quicker.

noseraisins2 karma

Hopefully this hasn't already been asked, but how are the trucks actually routed? Like here in the city I always wondered if one truck was assigned to, say, 12th street and just drove north-to-south making pickups for the entire length of the city.

SubzeroMK3 karma

Every truck is given a town, region, and area they have to pick up in. They try to keep trucks in general areas. It's really hard to explain without a map to show you ;\

Sorry buddy wish I could help out more lol. If I can think of a better way to explain it I'll let you know

noseraisins1 karma

Gotcha. That has to be a tough, I can't imagine having to turn one of those trucks on some of the narrower city streets, especially when people park all the way out to the corner. Thanks for the reply!

SubzeroMK2 karma

Your welcome.

diabetishead13242 karma

If i wanted to give you a present or gift what is the best way to do so?

SubzeroMK3 karma

Give it to me lol. Just place it on top of can and leave a note in the front

diabetishead13242 karma

And what do you guys (and girls) usually enjoy?

SubzeroMK3 karma

Money, some drinks and some food

diabetishead13242 karma

Awesome, Thanks!

SubzeroMK2 karma

Thank you :)

monsonman452 karma

We all know everyone wants to see those muscles!

SubzeroMK2 karma

Only if you say pretty please

kdoggyjizzle2 karma

Ever take a glance in the cans and find something hilarious/freakishly disturbing?

SubzeroMK2 karma

Um ... not really ... to be honest ... it's not as weird as you think doing this job.

p0wnd2 karma

What's your best pick up line?

SubzeroMK3 karma

Hey babe! Wanna go take a nap so I can watch the baby? (get it? I have a family)

p0wnd2 karma

That wasn't nearly as trashy as I was expecting.

But good on you, mr. family man!

SubzeroMK2 karma


orevilo2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

I have one burning question, are you guys on such a tight schedule that you can't wait two seconds for me to run to the curb with my trash? I mean the guys in my area see me pulling my bins out of my garage and just drive off to the next house. Not to be insulting, just urks me.

SubzeroMK19 karma

Your welcome.

Well, it's a hard question to answer, our company personally, our routes are so huge that we are just trying to get one before 3 or 4 oclock in the afternoon after starting at 5am. Generally most of our trucks wait, but it does take time out of our day to wait for you to drag it down, if you think about it, that 2 to 10 seconds you just made us wait can cause us to sit in traffic or behind a set of busses or whatnot and cause us to go behind 30 minutes in the day.

The way we see it, if your not out your on your own, its your responsibility to have it out the night before, not when we are pulling up to your house, we understand when people forget and what not but it urks us just as much as it urks you when we have to wait on customers to pull everything out to us.

No offense or anything by the way, just being honest.

PawnShop8042 karma

I hear it's a well paying job? But I bet you/your SO must hate the way you smell after work!

SubzeroMK5 karma

Without going into the complicated pay rate and how we get paid, our company pays 500$ a week average to helpers a week and 1000$ a week to drivers.

Yes, yes we do, I shower for 20 minutes after work everyday and than once more right before bed.

Harry_Pottah1 karma

If you weren't a garbage man, what would you be? Why did you choose to become a garbage man? Any crazy stories from a route?

SubzeroMK3 karma

Still be a General Manager for Jiffy Lube (long story not getting into it sorry!)

It's a job that pays bills, and they pay excellent.

Trying to think .... trying to think .... trying to think .... Can't think of anything to crazy off the top of my head, just normal routine days for the most part, almost hit by quite a bit of cars from them not paying attention, hit myself in the face with a trash can a few times, fell off the truck, yelled at some people. Just the usual.

iamaredditer1 karma

Are you going to try and transition into being a driver? Do you have to get a cdl for that position?

SubzeroMK0 karma

Yes. Yes you do.

fatcircles1 karma

Why do drivers get paid twice as much? Their job seems much easier.

SubzeroMK2 karma

They have a lot more responsibilities. They have to watch over their helpers, learn every road they pick up on, know the quickest way to finish, and they have to get out and dump cans too.

Mdcastle1 karma

What do you think of this (real)scenario.

Garbage trucks cost like $100,000 plus, correct.

Garbage company with rumored mob ties orders dozens of trucks. Once in while they might pick one up, but for the most part the trucks sit around the manufacturer's lot. Eventually they are repainted and resold at a loss to a competitors. The manufacturer always buys all the steel from a specific company without getting quotes from anyone else.

Somemone has no idea how many trucks they actually need? Money Laundering? Tax shenanagains? Some internal creative accounting?

SubzeroMK2 karma

That low? Our trucks all cost upwards 250k. I've heard of that in bigger areas but not my company. My grand father was apart of the trash scheme in NYC back in the 50s. He would drive around and pick up only a certain few cans with money in them and than just drive around like he was working all day.

dumpstart1 karma

In Taiwan, the trash trucks do not pick up trash cans on the side of the road. Instead, you go outside at your designated trash truck time and throw your bags into the truck with all your neighbors in the area.

They signal their arrival with a song over a loudspeaker that sounds like an Ice Cream Truck to anybody who grew up in America.

It ends up being a friendly gathering of all your neighbors, talking about the weather, their garden, life, etc--all while holding bags of garbage.

EDIT: forgot my question....Would you rather see families of people hand you their garbage as you roll by each community, or do you think no interaction between the garbage creators and the garbage handlers is better?

Personally, I think that having to hand take your garbage out to the truck with all your neighbors makes you more conscious of the garbage you create. I've learned the Taiwanese people create a lot less trash than we do in America. There is even a bin on the side of the truck that you can put your food waste (vegetable cuttings, food you would normally put down the disposal in your sink) which makes trash a lot less...nasty.

SubzeroMK2 karma

We have both. We have park outs where entire communities can come drop their trash and recycle off. But we have 10 millions customers total between roll off front end and rear loader. It would be hard to do the community gathering for everyone

MrDeadSea1 karma

1 - What kind of coworkers do you have? You previously stated that many are repeat felons -- ever had any trouble working with any of them?

2 - Where do you relieve yourself during your shift? Do you stop for bathroom breaks?

3 - Not a question but, thank you for this AMA. It's interesting and you seem to be a kind, hardworking person with a good attitude.

SubzeroMK1 karma

My driver is a white older guy, late 40s. Most of the employees are either hispanic or south african (french speaking) which are very hard workers, and than we have the ghetto black guys who are all repeat felons, many of them, and no I havn't had any issues as of yet, but I do see them get into verbal and sometimes physically confrontations lol.

Behind your fence or in the woods, no lie, if it is dark out Ill just piss on the wheels of the truck or jump into the back of the hopper. If I gotta go number 2 than we stop at like 7/11 or mcdonalds.

Your welcome my good sir.

ala061 karma

Do you need any schooling or experience to get into the garbage business? It's a job I have considered doing, seems like decent work.

SubzeroMK4 karma

No, most guys are repeat felons ... All you need is 2 arms an 2 legs

Grumblecakes1 karma

I know you are, but what am I?

SubzeroMK2 karma

A retard?

SubzeroMK2 karma


germanywx0 karma

I was a gifted student in school. I went to a boarding school for math and science nerds. I was in broadcasting for many years. I was in the military as a weather forecaster. I am now an entrepreneur.

However, I have always wanted to be a garbage man. At least for a week or two, just to see what it was like. It seems like such a real, honest job -- so anonymous. Nobody ever really looks at the garbage man.

I bet all of the garbage men are kind of cool... like, "Hey! Let's all go grab some beers after work!" Is this how it is?

SubzeroMK1 karma

Yeah we all generally see each other every morning and talk, it's more bowling and drinking than anything the guys do. The Hispanics all go drinking at their houses. Than there are guys like me with a family that go home and just enjoy the fact we survived the day. Forgot to mention garbage collection is the 7th most dangerous job in the world

stoneduranus-2 karma


SubzeroMK4 karma

I used to be a waiter. I know it sucks lol