Brooklyn, New York: A trash can’s throw from New York City is the Sanitation Academy. Just like our beloved police and firemen, our sanitation workers need to be properly trained prior to being released into the real world. Besides being able to pick up and recycle trash, these new garbage men must learn how to compost, sweep, remove trees, and operate and maintain their trucks.

In the early days of summer, the training of over 400 future sanitation workers begins. In just over 4 weeks, they will graduate and add to the currently 6,000 garbage men operating in the Tri-State Area. The plan is to prepare these workers for everything they might face, including much more than just trash.

One of the biggest problems sanitation workers encounter are things inside the garbage bags. Without x-ray vision, they subject themselves to the many dangers that people throw away. However it is not only what is in the bags that make this a dangerous job, they also must deal with common pests such as rodents, who want the trash much more than they do.


Of the many things these trainees learn, there are some things the school no longer teaches. Due to the many risks involved, sanitation workers are no longer allowed to hang off the back of the truck. This used to be one of the few thrills of being a garbage man.

The Sanitation Academy started in 1950 and the training methods used by them have constantly evolved with the times. At one time, the focus of the instruction was mainly to stop the spread of diseases. Now it is primarily training them in environmental protection, emphasizing the importance of sorting waste materials and keeping waste isolated from the local environment.

Despite what you may think, the sanitation worker job is in very high demand. Before gaining entrance to the Academy all applicants must pass a written exam, the last of which was held in 2007. Due to the tremendous popularity of the program, the average applicant will wait over 5 years to get the call to take the rest of the test before being considered for admission.

After being selected, students must endure a physical evaluation. The evaluation consists mainly of throwing garbage bags and cans, but it has scaled back in intensity considerably. At one point the physical portion was nicknamed “Superman” and now is much easier to accommodate women applicants. The first woman entered the sanitation workforce in 1986 and now women make up about 3% of the total work force.

If you are able to deal with some dirty work, picking up trash is rather lucrative. Just after 5 years of service the average sanitation worker earns almost $70,000 per year. This is much more than the average police officer with the same amount of experience.

The sanitation business is no going anywhere. As long as we continue to throw things away, there will always be an essential need to remove our unwanted materials. This is definitely great job security and perhaps the main reason why the position is in such high demand.

Budget Dumpster also takes the training of our dumpster rental haulers very seriously. When dealing with waste, it is important to have expert individuals. If you are interested in giving your sanitation workers a break, give Budget Dumpster a call and we can help you take care of your trash!

Source: New York Times