Similar careers

How to become a Refuse Collection Driver

refuse collection driver careers

What does a Refuse Collection Driver do?

Refuse collection drivers lead a small teams of refuse collection operatives, collecting waste from homes, factories and businesses. Drivers keep the vehicle moving slowly, stopping to keep pace with the operatives, and sometimes turning in tight spaces. They then transport the waste to a disposal point, usually a landfill site or recycling depot.

Refuse collection drivers are responsible for making routine vehicle maintenance checks, keeping to an agreed schedule and following emergency procedures. They ensure that operatives are clear of machinery before beginning the crushing process, and need to be vigilant and react quickly to any potentially dangerous situations.

Some companies specialise in the removal of hazardous waste that needs to be disposed of in a particular way, for example, clinical waste from hospitals, oil or chemical waste.

What's the working environment like working as a Refuse Collection Driver?

Most refuse collection drivers work Monday to Friday, between 37 and 40 hours per week. Hours are often between 7am and 3.30pm. Weekend work is possible and overtime may be available.

Refuse collection drivers work outdoors, in all weather conditions. Drivers sit in their cab most of the time, apart from when they take the vehicle to be emptied. Safety clothing, such as heavy duty gloves, reflective jackets, safety trousers and steel toe capped boots may be provided.

What does it take to become a Refuse Collection Driver?

To be a refuse collection driver, you should:

  • have good driving skills to manoeuvre the vehicle in narrow spaces
  • have good concentration to react in an emergency
  • have patience and be able to keep calm
  • be physically fit
  • be able to work as part of a team.

Refuse Collection Driver Career Opportunities

Local authorities and commercial waste management companies throughout the UK employ refuse collection drivers. For further details of local government careers and jobs contact LGcareers.

It is possible to go on to become a team leader, a supervisor or a manager organising collections and drivers' worksheets at the depot. With further qualifications, drivers may also become waste management officers.

Due to environmental legislation, recycling has become more important in this field. Refuse collection is increasingly concerned with local recycling initiatives and environmental awareness. See Recycling Officer for further details.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Refuse Collection Driver that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Energy & Utility Skills Limited
Friars Gate Two
1011 Stratford Road
B90 4BN
Tel: 0845 077 9922

Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)
9 Saxon Court
St Peter's Gardens
Tel: 01604 620426

Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB)
Peterbridge House
3 The Lakes
Tel: 01604 231950


Facts and Stats:

  • The Toyota Corolla is the best selling car of all time
  • London Heathrow is the world¿s busiest international airport
  • In 1969, the then Czechoslovakia was the first country to make the wearing of seatbelts compulsory

Courses to help you become a Refuse Collection Driver