I've been working as a garbage man during the summer- and winter holidays for the last four years (I'm studying at university while not working).

Proof: https://imgur.com/97Nh5b7 https://imgur.com/8SOuxBC

Edit: To clarify; I dont have a commercial driver's license so I'm not the one driving the truck. Im the guy on the back of the truck doing the actual work.

Comments: 1974 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

xavileon1207 karma

What’s the strangest thing someone has thrown away? Also what’s the coolest thing you have found?

spankytank2094 karma

I havent really found anything cool, I would say. But I've seen someone throw away a big collection of bibles. The bin was unusually heavy, so when I looked inside it was just stuffed full of bibles (???). And I've of course come across some porno mags.

vaiNe_879 karma

How much do you get paid?

spankytank1630 karma

I get paid 20 USD hr, and get 1 hour paid break.

Edit: The full-time employees with commercial driver's licence that drives the truck earn about 27 USD.

vaiNe_642 karma

Are you norwegian, or an exchange student?

spankytank1671 karma

Norwegian, born and raised.

vaiNe_49 karma

Blir du sur når du kommer over folk som ikkje kildesortere?

spankytank81 karma

Haha, jeg bryr meg ikke om hva folk kaster så lenge jeg får betalt. Men når jeg ser åpenbare feil, f.eks folk som kaster større metallgjenstander (kjeler, hagemøbler, lamper osv) så lar jeg de stå igjen.

plap1175 karma

Wait what? That's exceptionally good.

spankytank187 karma

It's average in Norway :) But I'm perfectly happy with my pay.

Urge_Reddit57 karma

Out of interest, what kind of hours do you generally work? Standard 8 hour shift? More? Less?

Sidenote of the norwegian variety: Setter pris på arbeidet du og andre renholdsarbeidere gjør, spesielt når søpla står ute og baker i sola nå i sommer!

EDIT: Noticed this question was answered further down, so feel free to ignore this entirely.

spankytank47 karma

Takk uansett :)

viramp14 karma

how many hrs a day do you work?

spankytank50 karma

Work from 07:00 - 14:30.

Pollymath1 karma

What other types of benefits do you get? Paid vacation or time off?

spankytank4 karma

Since I'm not a full-time employee, I only work during the holidays, I dont get any other benefits really. But the full-time employees gets several weeks paid vacation of course (not sure how many, probably like 5 weeks each year).

2soserius648 karma

Though you're not fulltime, do people look down on you because of your job? How do/would you deal such situations?

spankytank1900 karma

I've never experienced negative remarks about my job. I'm aware that it's "low status", and so are the people working full-time. I have actually only gotten positive remarks, people often thank me for emptying their bins, and last week someone gave me a 1,5L pepsi max because it was so hot outside. And at christmas times people often give us boxes of chocolate and greeting cards, so our break room during the christmas holidays is always a pleasant place :)

Kimpak533 karma

I always tell my kids that the world needs garbage men and its a very important job (which it really is). They're fascinated with the garbage trucks whenever we see them.

spankytank681 karma

Yeah, we're REALLY popular when emptying the containers at the kindergartens :)

terpin127 karma

We call you guys sanitation engineers where I come from :D Keep up the great work man, without you guys we would be at the mercy of feral raccoons and ducks!

spankytank162 karma

Yeah, we have a fancier word for garbage men in norwegian aswell, but I just stick to "garbage man" so people dont get confused.

kindlered481 karma


spankytank395 karma

Hah, we're hiring anybody!

michal_frl471 karma

Have you ever encoutered any unpleasent situation during work?

spankytank799 karma

There's been an unusual amount of wasps lately, and they often gather around the bins. I havent been stung, yet, but severaly of my colleagues has been stung lately. But I havent hurt myself yet, but one one of my colleague lost part of his thumb emptying a container, and last winter someone broke their leg.

TheReinsofFullnight69 karma

How did he lose his thumb?

spankytank165 karma

I wasnt there to see it but from what I was told the container got stuck and he tried to push it in place, and it just snapped in place smashing the top half of his thumb.

Hubble-Gum273 karma

How much does it smell?

spankytank501 karma

It varies. During the winter it doesn't smell that bad, because the garbage is often frozen. But during the summer, and especially the last month when it's been exceptionally hot in Norway (often around 85 fahrenheit), it can get pretty bad. But you just learn to breathe with your mouth.

Wild_Marker246 karma

As a South American I can't even imagine what frozen garbage is like. Does it give you any particular issues?

spankytank363 karma

Hah, it can. When we empty residiual waste (food waste etc) it might freeze so it sticks to the bin itself, but it usually isnt a big problem. The biggest drawback about winter-time is that the wheels on the bins often freeze, so we have to drag them. This is especially laboring if it's been snowing during the night so we have to deal with heavy, frozen bins which we have to drag to and from the garbage truck in a feet of snow.

armcandybean257 karma

Do you work with any garbage women?

spankytank259 karma

There's 1 full-time employee that is a woman, and I've come across two other which works during the holidays like me.

throw_away_17381213 karma

Hallo. Det er alt jeg vet på norsk.

  1. Is recycling 'big' in Norway?
  2. Do you have certain streets you hate or love? Does it give you an insight in to any of the households?
  3. How is being a garbage man deemed to be as a respected job?
  4. Have you realised anything about people, garbage or quirkiness of life from collecting garbage?
  5. Have you or your colleagues found anything and thought "that's a keeper"?

spankytank378 karma

  • I would say recyclying is pretty big. Norway is a wealthy country so we can afford focusing on recycling (not that it matters that much in big picture, Norway is only 5 million people).
  • There are some streets that are more demanding than others because they are steep, making it heavier to drag the bins.
  • Every child gets to learn that being a garbage man is a "low-status job" somehow, but I definitely feel respected in my job. People acknowledge the job I do, and know it's an important job.
  • People. Throw. Away. Sooo. Sooo. Much. Food... So much waste... It should be ALOT more focus on preventing food waste...
  • Not that I recall. I once found a norwegian flag someone threw out, and I proudly placed it on the back of the truck. And some other colleagues found a big teddy bear (like 1 meter tall), and they tied it up to the front of the truck. They got alot of positive response from the kindergarten-kids.

mangolordddd89 karma

And some other colleagues found a big teddy bear (like 1 meter tall), and they tied it up to the front of the truck. They got alot of positive response from the kindergarten-kids.


spankytank62 karma

haha, exactly!

ericrs22189 karma

How much garbage can that bad boy actually hold?

spankytank167 karma

About 10 000 kg, depends on the type of garbage. Paper doesnt "pack" as tightly as residual waste so we cant fit 10 000 kg paper though.

cockypock_aioli164 karma

Are garbage services handled by the government? Private companies? Does each city have their own service? Do you fight with swedish garbage collectors?

spankytank205 karma

The local municipalities organize their garbage collection. The firm I'm working for empties the garbage for two municipalities. We dont fight with the swedes for collecting garbage, we actually send the paper/cardboard garbage to sweden by truck/train for recycling!

Jgflight86160 karma

Is there garbage in Norway?

spankytank235 karma

Tons of it, literally. On an average route we collect about 5 000 kg.

SoulofThesteppe141 karma

What is your standard route like? Length? When do you know its full and need to dump it?

spankytank214 karma

  • There is no standard route, they can differ alot. Some routes contains alot of housing estates, which means the distance between the bins are very short (walking distance between the bins). Other routes take us to the more rural areas, containing farms and such, which means that we have to drive further between the bins.
  • Not sure about the length, but the longest route (including driving to the dump) can lead to driving up to 100 km I would guess.
  • The truck has several sensors managing hydraulic pressure and weight which tells us how full the truck is. The truck can fit about 10 000 kg garbage, but we rarely get that heavy (normal routes are around 5000 kg +- 2000).

given_gaussian_curve20 karma


spankytank33 karma

hah, 30 km would be a bit far. If it's less than about 500 meters to the next bin, I usually hang on the back of the truck. If it's longer, I hop in with the driver.

TiengAnh118 karma

Do you like lutefisk? Have you found any in the garbage?

spankytank181 karma

Hah, not a big fan of lutefisk tbh, but we eat it every christmas (not christmas eve though thankfully). Can't say I've seen any lutefisk in other peoples garbage, other than the lutefisk I throw away myself.

TiengAnh42 karma

A friend of a friend is Norwegian, and told me that many people in Scandinavia refuse to eat it. Is that true? I'd like to try it, but if the natives don't want to...I think I should be cautious.

What's your favourite ice cream?

edit: Maybe I'll give it a try! (Not ice cream, lutefisk. Unless there is lutefisk ice cream.)

spankytank79 karma

Yeah, lutefisk is pretty polarizing, either you eat it - or you dont. I, personally, not a big fan. But the lutefisk itself doesnt taste that much, it's all about the accessories like syrup, bacon and brunost (a type of sweet cheese). But the texture of lutefisk just puts me of... It's like jelly, but you know it's a fish... That's too fishy for me.

PJ_lyrics87 karma

Was there training or did you just pick it up as you went along?

spankytank109 karma

I just picked it up as I went along. It's a pretty easy job, after an hour you pretty much know it all.

Snagsby79 karma

Do you think your viking ancestors are proud of you?

spankytank187 karma

I hope so, but dont think they would be proud of all the waste (people throw away soo much food).

WeRtheBork63 karma

Have you ever been part of a strike?

Seville had one a few years back as it got into hotter months.

What would be the challenges of cleaning such an accumulated mess up?

spankytank89 karma

I've never heard of a strike in my field of work in Norway. But the garbage would pile up quickly, and the smell would get bad quickly.

MrRafaelSas54 karma

Hello, i did your job for 3 years in Milan than they stop renewing contracts,I would like to ask you if in Norway it is hard as in Italy to get in for undetermined time, here they fired 200persons just for tax escape..So the people who is working full time how much time they had to renew contracts?

spankytank42 karma

Sorry, I'm not sure how the full-times contracts are here.

KamehameBoom54 karma

Do you like pickles?

spankytank58 karma


SmexxyPants32 karma

I heard that during the first 3 months or so of working as a garbage man, you get extra sick days because your immune system has to get used to the amount of bacteria, is that true? Have you gotten more sick since taking the job or has your immune system become so good that you hardly ever get sick?

spankytank48 karma

I have never heard of that. I've never been sick one day from work either.

mrsattorney27 karma

What's the recycling program like in Norway? I'm in the US...we have 3 separate recycling bins for cans, paper/cardboard, and yard clippings (grass, leaves, etc.)

spankytank37 karma

Residual waste (food, grass, any organic waste etc), paper/cardboard and plastic.

Hangs-Dong24 karma

Do you like the song Garbage Truck by Sex Bobomb aka Beck?

spankytank27 karma

I do now :)

EverydayGravitas20 karma

Hey! Hope you see this! I have friends who go dumpster diving in Norway. Apparently, the low temperatures keep a lot of food safe to eat.

Is this true? Are the dumpstrs clean enough that you can eat from them?

spankytank35 karma

Some dumpsters probably are. And if the food is packaged, I wouldnt hesitate eating it. I've seen ALOT of good food go to waste. There has been times when emptying containers to bakeries I've almost been tempted to take something for myself.

doctorsnorky20 karma

Is there a lot of competition from immigrants for these garbage jobs?

spankytank42 karma

I havent seen any immigrants at my job, not sure why.

InappropriateSurname12 karma

How much harder is your job with all the snow in the winter?

spankytank14 karma

It can get alot harder, which makes it more time consuming often leading to working overtime. But if the snow has been recently plowed and it isnt that slippery outside, it's not really that much harder than summer time.

nurse_camper10 karma

I’m a garbageman in Canada. Are you doing household garbage or large bins?

I collect in residential areas, and have a machine on the side of the truck to pick up bins and dump them. Do you guys do hand collection or is it all automated?

spankytank8 karma

We collect the bins by hand and attaches them on a kind of hook on the back of the truck, and the hydraulic flips it up-side down and empties the trash. We empty household garbage and containers (up to 10 square meters).

VinceMeatPie6 karma

This is interesting, why did you decide to work as a garbage man? Does it have some type of connection within your field of study that you maybe want to get hands-on experience with?

spankytank3 karma

I was just looking for a job one summer and sent in my résumé, and luckily got the job. I'm very pleased with the job, because at the end of each semester I've been sitting on a chair preparing for exams and not really getting all the exercise I need. So it's a big plus for me that the job includes physical labor and being outdoors. Wouldn't trade this job for a "inside-job" :). I'm studying organic chemistry, so it isnt really that related. But if I were in the field of environmental chemistry it could possibly overlap somehow.

koalanov5 karma

What's the most disgusting thing you saw in the trash?And the most valuable thing you found that made you keep it?

spankytank9 karma

During the summer when it's hot, theres often ALOT of maggots in the bins, which can smell pretty disgusting. I've also seen dead mice in the bins, but the maggots are far worse. I havent found anything valuable that I've kept.

Coompa1 karma

What's the skiing like in Norway?

spankytank2 karma

Pretty decent at times.