Final Edit: Formatting

Hello Reddit,

IamA Polar Garbage Man. A little play on words since southern Ontario gets pretty damn cold in the winter months.

I have been doing this 3 years, I spent my first year loading garbage and am now a full time GarbageMan Driver/ Loader Trash-slinger crusher of dreams. I work in southern Ontario and am bald and angry and ready to shed some light on your questions.

Ask me anything!

:) proof

Comments: 724 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

squid50s610 karma

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve seen in the trash?

Edit: I just realized something. OP, a garbage man, is using a throwaway account...get it?

GarbageManCanada426 karma

Honestly one of our guys pulled a working Mac book out, older gen but managed to trade it for some booger sugar. (Huge problem in the industry) edit : for clarification lots more of your garbage crews are consuming illicit substances than you’d like to think. Trucking in a whole needs huge reforms imo. Pray for Elon and his shiny Tesla rigs

this_is_my_alibi172 karma

Yeah but a bunch of truckers losing jobs along with substance addiction is a recipe for a fucked up world ahead

GarbageManCanada86 karma


ThuperThonik599 karma

What's the no. 1 thing people need to know more about when they fill up their bins?

GarbageManCanada660 karma

Honestly just go on your local municipal garbage page and follow your regions sorting protocols to a T, in my region glass and paper are mixed but in our other contract it’s separate so yeah. Edit: I guess just make sure it’s the proper stuff your supposed to put in. And weight keep the weight down guys

peppy_dee1981207 karma

I'm sorry for the cat litter bags... please don't get a hernia from picking them up

Crack-spiders-bitch87 karma

How big is your cat? Assuming garbage is collected weekly then it can't possibly be that much shit. Though I did recently get a second cat and I'm pretty sure the cat litter use and shit production has somehow tripled.

GarbageManCanada129 karma

You’d be surprised. Ever seen a cat lady’s house I swear no joke 30 boxes of the original box but instead of clean litter it was all dirty.

GarbageManCanada4 karma


GarbageManCanada4 karma


Thehobomugger93 karma

You are a daily hero. You keep us safe from pestilence and disease with back breaking labour, and probably get next to no recognition for it. thank you!

GarbageManCanada77 karma

Thanks so much not a lot no but the few who do when they bring us cold or hot drinks depending on the time of year make up for the ones who don’t :)

Crack-spiders-bitch37 karma

And a side note. It seems in most places if you don't clean out your recyclables then it gets tossed. So wash out the peanut butter jar because otherwise it'll just be tossed.

GarbageManCanada45 karma


thrasher52984 karma

I would say be mindful of anything sharp or pointy you throw away. Especially if you’re putting out a garbage bag not inside a bin. We don’t know what’s in there and it can easily puncture or cut garbage men. Also if you’re putting out just a bag be mindful of the weight, often times we pick up a bag and it’s either too cheap/thin to hold the garbage in and it rips and goes everywhere.

Finally I cannot stress this enough.... DO NOT THROW AWAY COMPRESSED TANKS OF ANY KIND, this means compressed air, helium, propane, fire extinguisher, or any kind of tank of this sort. It will explode and will hurt somebody and in my area the person who threw it away will be responsible. I’ve had too many co-workers hurt in this manner too many times.

thrasher529144 karma

Also, if you happen to have to throw away needles I would say safest way is to put them in a laundry detergent container and close the lid and label it. If you want to take it a step further put some tape around the life to stop the lid from unscrewing

GarbageManCanada40 karma

Honestly the safest way is to contact the local region and most will give you a designated sharps container you can fill and return but never put them in the garbage there’s always a chance once it all gets mixed it could come out the container and end up in our hopper :)

HerdingTabbyCats58 karma

When I have broken glass, I put it in a box, tape the box shut, and write “BROKEN GLASS” on sides, top and bottom of the box, because I don’t want to be the reason someone got injured.

Is this the correct way to handle broken glass or is there a better/safer way?

GarbageManCanada54 karma

Yes and thank you for being extra safe we appreciate it more than you know

GarbageManCanada48 karma

Honestly yes. Never personally had a needle poke but have had bins full to the top I mean.. empty can. To the lip. Just needles..

westernmail11 karma

Was this a residential area? That sounds more like medical (hazardous) waste. I hope you weren't expected to handle that.

GarbageManCanada3 karma

No we left it for the region to deal with

palanthas12 karma

I used to work in the garbage industry. Our number one pet peeve was people either not bagging their trash, or almost worse, bagging it but not tying the bag shut.

JillStinkEye5 karma

I found out my daughter was dumping the litter boxes directly into the trash can. You bet she had a real good talking to. Not just nasty but totally disrespectful. Found out that's how they do it at her dad's and was not at all surprised.

GarbageManCanada3 karma

Unfortunately more common than not

GarbageManCanada5 karma

Hate those people who can’t tie a bag and it all over the road when you throw it. Smh

Oax_Mike381 karma

How often are you tempted to nab something you see in the trash and take it home?

GarbageManCanada542 karma

Have seen guys bring home everything, Seen guys suspended for taking empty’s home to return for the deposit and have seen guys get away it for years depends how smart you are. never took anything myself but essentially if it fits in the cab and someone wants it it gets scooped.

aveeight170 karma

Why would you get suspended for recycling bottles?

Tomedepot202 karma

I am a garbage man and good guess but no. They started cracking down on it because the cab gets too cluttered when you say it's ok (they know you are going to do it anyways) and things will roll under the pedal. Imagine trying to stop with a glass bottle under the brake pedal. Huge safety issue.

GarbageManCanada92 karma

You know as well as I do company policy’s on paper and company policy’s that are enforced vary hugely by company and just how much they like doing there job.

HesMisterLuckyDuck32 karma

My guess is somebody already recycled it and the state/facility doesn’t wanna pay the fee twice, but that’s assuming he handles recyclables at his place too

GarbageManCanada11 karma

It’s stealing from the region here in all the areas I have worked, because the company gets paid via how much weight we collect.

seni0r32 karma

Ontario has an impressive beer bottle recycling program where bottles are standardized for easy cleaning an re-use as opposed to being melted down and recycled. As a result there is a deposit on every bottle at the time of purchase. You get it back when the bottle is returned in usable condition.

I’m not sure if cities can claim the deposit back, but I can’t see why not. If that was the case and an employee was taking the empties from their route to the beer store (Alcohol in Ontario is sold by the government) to collect the deposits money it would be stealing.

Facts may be a bit off as I don’t live in Canada anymore.

Here is an article on the program. Beer bottles in Ontario are used an average of 15 times!

GarbageManCanada22 karma

100 percent it’s stealing weight from the region as the company bills via the weight and what the contract pays. big no no and you honestly don’t make big enough returns for the risk of throwing your yearly pay away getting caught.

no_days_grace26 karma

If it is being thrown away, why can’t you take it? My grandfather ran a garbage business years ago (retired in 1973). He brought some stuff home from his routes!

GarbageManCanada27 karma

Because your stealing weight from the region, however as it’s a violation they can fire you but i personally haven’t seen it enforced more than twice once when guys were taking copper and scrap metal and a guy who took Big Metal Lama. Think lawn decoration.

Oax_Mike15 karma

How many Wunderbars do you eat during a typical shift?

GarbageManCanada21 karma

Honestly the days I have Loader’s (about once a week) I eat so much fast food. Everything on Mc D, Burger King & Wendy’s menus once and currently going for gold and tackling Taco Bell. Rip my arse hole eh 😂🙏

N3d0187 karma

how much is the pay?

In school, we joke about being a garbage man then say they get pretty well

bimbo_bear102 karma

Consider supply and demand, there's a lot of demand for people to do nasty jobs, not a lot of supply of willing bodies... So yeah good money typically same for a lot of other "nasty" jobs.

GarbageManCanada179 karma

When the Economy’s doing good it’s hard to attract drivers when it’s in the shitter though everyone wants to 😂, stable gig long contracts as long as you don’t fuck up and get fired steady stable income no matter the economy

P0sitive_Outlook80 karma

steady stable income no matter the economy

That's utterly key. I worked a job which was recession-proof. I got two pay rises through England's worst recession a few years back.

GarbageManCanada12 karma

Some one has to do it nigh aswell be me

Therealjimbobmcgee49 karma

I was a residential swamper in Edmonton. We made a flat rate of 228 a day and then bonuses for tonnage and for helping other routes finish their work. Our drivers made close to 300 a day and then had our bonuses to boot. Because of that, we had guys who'd bust their asses to get their route done as quick as possible so that they could get on route help time. Granted, we only worked 4 days a week as well. I know that I was set to make about 56k in my first year. We have drivers who won't take supervisor promotions because they already clear six figures just driving a truck with swampers who do the dirty work. I have no idea if this is the norm in other areas of Canada, but that's how it was for my company in Alberta.

GarbageManCanada31 karma

Yeah incentive rate for weight is one of the reasons your crews might not mind all that cat litter. When it rains? free money since the recycling gets all wet and heavy.

GarbageManCanada44 karma

Honestly after everything said and done our loaders make 30 to low 40s and our drivers 55 to mid 60s. More uncommon but seen a few ytd of our older guys making low to mid 70’s. Varys greatly by region.

MustardTiger133716 karma

more then minim wage less then 100k

good benefits

Sorry should have been 100!

GarbageManCanada19 karma

Benefits, steady recession proof work, outside half the day, sit on your arse the other. On a 12 hour day I might spend 6 or 7 hours actually picking with my partner and the rest sitting paid to drive to dumps or other city’s. Waiting at the dump ;)

missmelisandre122 karma

Is trash volume related to times of the year? Like is it generally higher around holidays and the summer or do people generate the same amount of trash consistently year-round?

GarbageManCanada3 karma

Yes and our other divisions like yard waste get heavy April to June and sept to nov it’s insane. Christmas sucks and thanks giving

TheAsylumGaming68 karma

Did OP answer 2 questions and then vanish!?! Quality AMA!

GarbageManCanada104 karma

Sorry guys I honestly pulled a garbage man and took a nap 😂😂 thanks for your sass got me back here ASAP hopefully I didn’t disappoint

TrumpetExhibitionist45 karma

Too busy, no time for our garbage.

GarbageManCanada26 karma

Gotta get them bags 😂

marrrtiii60 karma

What is a polar garbage man? How is it different from a regular garbage man? Where in Ontario are you?

Kenney42048 karma

OP seems like a bundle of sticks, ontario isnt polar to begin with but the total population of northern ontario is only 780k in an area of nearly one million sq. kms.

He said his region has a population of 548k which means it must be in southern ontario which is one of the warmest areas in all of canada

Edit: Halton Ontario Has the exact same pop and is about as south ontario as you can get. Hes only an hour from buffalo NY

GarbageManCanada51 karma

While I can’t confirm or deny the region. polar was more of a play on words on Canadian stereotypes regarding our winters and how we ride polar bears every were. Sorry

GarbageManCanada23 karma

Relax I meant because most us collectors don’t have to deal with our southern Ontario winters which are pretty intense. Collecting last winter was a pain we need spikes on our boots to stop from falling on our asses all season 😂👌🏻

ThuperThonik35 karma

What are the best parts of the job? Is it more about camaraderie and earning a paycheck or do you find it rewarding in its own way?

GarbageManCanada35 karma

I have some regulars in my maps elderly mostly I bring the bins up to the garage, idk I love my residents :)

rusted_shut7 karma

For me personally I like how repetitive the job is. Some days I pick over 1000 containers. I liken it to a city wide video game where I try to shave off minutes from the different routes I do week after week. There’s hundreds of different ways to do a route and it’s fun to try and figure out the most efficient way.

hokie477 karma

You should ask reddit to optimize your path. There are smart people here that would love to use math to optimize your path. It is actually a very complex puzzle.

GarbageManCanada4 karma

Someone do the math!

GarbageManCanada4 karma

Yes sir preach

lightspeedissueguy30 karma

Do you notice that the smell isn't as bad because of the cold or is it still terrible?

TheNotoriousN_Rod16 karma

Canada isn’t always cold

GarbageManCanada8 karma

I respect you

oricthedamned8 karma

Ontario isnt cold all the time. The most populated parts are roughly the same latitude as Michigan, which can get hot and humid in summer

GarbageManCanada3 karma

Yessir :) Sorry if I came off like i was saying I’m from like Yukon or some thing

GarbageManCanada6 karma

Yes the cold helps the summer sucks more but my nose doesn’t work anymore anyways 🤷🏻‍♀️

ocean_wavez19 karma

What’s the weirdest thing someone has thrown away?

Sogg0th16 karma

One of my people I worked with found those life sized silicone sex doll, in a box. He said he thought it was a dead body.

GarbageManCanada13 karma


IpodAndMp319 karma

How was your Canada day buddy?

GarbageManCanada18 karma

Fucking great man, thanks for asking! How was yours?

Solidsauce8417 karma

How many times in a day would you say you go out for a rip, eh bud?

GarbageManCanada17 karma

😂 we take Er out for a rip down by the merf everyday

BPEddiev13 karma

I have been lobbying my neighbors to get recycling in our neighborhood. The neighbors don’t want to pay the extra $4 dollars per month 🙄 (everyone in my neighborhood lives in a half Million dollar home). They say it’s a waste Of money and the landfills throw all recycling away anyway. What’s your take on recycling. I personally think NOT recycling should be a crime. I honestly feel Like dumping my recycling in my neighbors driveways.

Do waste management companies really just throw away recycling or, in your opinion, is there truly a benefit to recycling?

GarbageManCanada20 karma

Wish we scrapped recycling as a whole and tried a better approach. You just can’t enforce the amount of separation you really need and then you have some municipality’s throwing recycling in the landfill because China and others stopped taking our recycling and our internal capacity sucks (

prunesandwich11 karma

How does the trash from wealthier neighborhoods compare to the trash from middle class and lower class neighborhoods? (Amount of trash, types of items thrown out, number of recyclables, etc.)

Tomedepot10 karma

It's not as nasty in wealthier neighborhoods. Lower class neighborhoods you see lots of people not using bags. But the quality of the trash itself is less disgusting to a point in wealthier areas because of lack of food waste (eating out vs cooking at home). Also you see crazy valuable things thrown out in wealthier neighborhoods. I brought home a guitar from a house. Looked up the serial number online. 200 dollars nothing wrong with it.

GarbageManCanada6 karma

The gear to income housing surveys some have rooms that all the units just put there garbage in and we have to do like 15 minutes doing one townhouse all in one spot. Much nicer than curb side

GarbageManCanada5 karma

The area I do is kinda more rich areas and some poorer but the rich people have way nicer stuff including sometimes what looks like someone went to Walmart filled a cart then put it in a garbage can on the curb. One lady had 3 cans like that what a waste couldn’t even donate it to food bank

Recon_by_Fire11 karma

Do you start off each day with The Cramps?

GarbageManCanada4 karma

I’m sorry I’m uncultured swine I will educate my self accordingly and report back

ouyangyi9 karma

Do you mind when young curious children stare at you?

Tomedepot18 karma

I make sure to run the compactor and hit the air horn fir kids (also a garbage man)

diploid_impunity18 karma

Kids can be a nuisance, but you shouldn’t really crush them flat if they’re not yours.

GarbageManCanada6 karma

😂 yeah people generally look down on you crushing other people’s kids especially since the capital crime path. Suddenly r/outside

agm19847 karma

I used to wash garbage trucks when I worked at a detailing shop. Do you ever get garbage juice on your face or skin, such as it dripping off the truck or anything like that?

We used to get garbage juice flying off the trucks while pressure washing them. Never got any diseases but I imagined there was a percentage of diaper and tampon content in that juice. It could be a bit of an existential crisis if you felt a droplet hit your lip.

GarbageManCanada12 karma

I got juiced my fair share of walking past the hopper while the driver hammers the engine to speed it going up, only in my mouth once. I spit maggots out. I throw up 🤢

ToxicMasculinity19817 karma

Have you ever found drugs? If so, what was it and how much?

GarbageManCanada11 karma

Now that it’s legal I see the OCS containers everywhere (legal weed containers) sometimes they have been known to have samples ;)

DCYouKnighted6 karma

Will you answer more than one question?

GarbageManCanada19 karma

Will you be patient because I’m no doctor 🤷🏻‍♀️

Afk17923 karma

What made you become a garbage man ?

rusted_shut7 karma

I wanted to be a garbage man since I watched the movie La Bamba where Richie Valens and his brother find a guitar and woody woodpeckers drawings in the trash! I always thought that was so cool as a kid (not OP but I drive a garbage truck as well)

GarbageManCanada5 karma

YAY another trash slinger :) Respect friend

Beachsurfer3 karma

What is the most valuable item you have found?

GarbageManCanada8 karma

The most valuable thing I found was self worth

Rmbmr2 karma

Do you see people in your area getting better or worse at disposing trash properly?

GarbageManCanada2 karma

Some areas are up some are down it kinda looks worse though then when I started tbh.

DontLitterOK2 karma

How can you properly throw away an unpressurized fire extinguisher? Just unscrew the lever from the cylinder so the garbage person knows for sure it's not pressurized? Any garbage person can chime in... seems OP has not stuck around.

rusted_shut2 karma

If it’s unpressurized it could be dropped off at metal recycling depot. No need to put it in the general trash. (Not OP but am a trash man)

GarbageManCanada2 karma

Hey fellow Trash Slinger keep up the good fight and try not the get squirted ;)

Mr-Kiwi-Bird2 karma

What’s the worst mess you have ever had to clean up?

GarbageManCanada3 karma

My partner opened the tailgate of the recycling and emptied probably about .5 to a ton of recycling out on a windy day. He thought he was hitting the wall extender switch. Spent a whole Friday cleaning up the street

Cemeterywind6662 karma

Does your company also do roll offs and compactors? That's what I do.

GarbageManCanada3 karma

Yes sir And rear packs, split rears, side loaders, big moving van type things for scrap appliances

simonbleu2 karma

Is it as dangerous in terms of health hazard as some say?

In my country, getting a garbage man job its almost impossible... they are like the mob of jobs. Seriously.

GarbageManCanada4 karma

The company would never confirm that but I can say some of the shit we inhaled is bad and skin cancers big risk too. Then there’s people trying to play simpsons hit n run with you. Fun times look up the vid of a garbage truck eating a car maybe someone can deliver the link for me :)

roachbug1012 karma

Would you recommend becoming a garbage man?

GarbageManCanada7 karma

Yes especially if your young and fit it’s a good job to sit and think about what you want to do the rest of your life. I eventually want to be a plumber

sgtxsarge2 karma

What's the strangest thing you saw sticking out of the trash?

GarbageManCanada7 karma

There’s so many and so many new ones every day but a good one was the baby doll arm that I thought was a real baby arm :O Dabs