The 10 Highest Paying Waste Management Jobs in 2019

Everyone on earth makes trash, and collecting it may be messy, but you can really clean up in terms of the pay scale. We’ve all heard the cliche phrase “It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it,” but who knew that the dirty jobs could pay so well? Waste management, handling the trash, is one of those surprising careers that can make you a ton of money. Even without an education, you can take home a lovely paycheck working on a trash truck. Of course, the truck drivers and can lifters aren’t your only options in terms of waste management jobs.

10. Waste Management Station Manager – $70,000 to $75,000

The area you work in will usually affect the salary they offer you to start. In Omaha, you can look forward to this cushy job netting you at least seventy thousand dollars a year. They offer Medical, Dental, Vision, Life Insurance, and a 401k. Most of the job involves managing people and doing paperwork, but you do have to be able to lift 50-100 pounds and be willing to work weekends, overtime, holidays and inclement weather if they need you. You need a high school diploma or equivalent to do this job, but there are some special requirements. You need two years each of heavy equipment experience, solid waste, and supervisory experience. Additionally, they expect you to know how industrial hydraulic and diesel equipment work to name a few. It’s not a bad gig if you like to work with big equipment and know how to handle people. There’s a catch to this one. You don’t want to work there because they’re already in trouble. The city of Omaha has been having trouble with their trash hauling, and they’ve been penalizing them for failing to do the job. Maybe you’re the right person to turn all that around, but otherwise, it may not be worth the pay since you can probably bet the job is open because they fired the last guy.

9. Atmospheric Scientist – $89,790

Though they don’t exclusively work in the trash business, there are plenty of jobs in that sector for atmospheric scientists. You’ll need a degree in the subject if you want to take this job. Benefits and duties will vary by location, but in general, you will perform studies and tests on the effects of waste. Atmospheric scientists look at different types of pollution and how it affects plants, animals, people, and entire ecosystems. Alternately, they may end up working on the solutions instead. Researching how to minimize the impact of existing waste or even create less industrial waste in the future may be part of the duties.

8. Sales (Getting New Customers) – $90,000

To run a trash company, you need customers. Selling trash collections services turns out to be a fairly lucrative job. If you have the knack for people and you can sell snow to a polar bear, then you can make a killing convincing people to let your company take away their garbage.

7. Riding on the Back of a Garbage Truck – $100,000

While there’s some variance depending on where you live, just riding on the back of a garbage truck and lifting up cans can be a great way to make your money. Some companies don’t even require a high school diploma or GED to start. After a few years, you can work your way up to make quite a tidy sum. The reason these jobs pay so well has to do with handling hazards and inclement weather. The trash has to get picked up even when no one else has to go to work, or a city can be overrun with vermin.

6. Deputy Director of Public Works, Utilities and Waste Management – $90,554 to $107,532

When your job involves overseeing and planning how to handle solid waste, wastewater and even storm water it’s not exactly a walk in the park. Fortunately, they pay fairly for the time and energy it takes to coordinate such a monumental task. Unfortunately, you’ll also have to handle complaints and emergencies and even pursue things like grants for Mason County’s needs. It’s a lot to ask, but that’s why they offer the big bucks.

5. Civil Engineer III – Solid Waste – $65,956 to $109,106

Civil engineers can perform numerous functions. Port Orange’s Civil Engineer III for the Solid Waste Division has to oversee and review all the projects they do at the facility. Making sure everything is up to standard and adheres to the local ordinance is another big job. To perform this job, you’ll need a valid Florida Drivers License, a year of supervisory experience and five years experience in engineering, construction, design, and planning. You also have to be a licensed Professional or Civil Engineer. You also have to be able to handle the ADA requirements. Some of those involve visual acuity, crawling, pulling ten-pound objects and the abilities to lift and twist. They probably also need you to pass a drug test since they mention it specifically.
“Volusia County is a drug-free workplace and an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to a diverse workforce.”

4. Garbage Truck Driver – $112,000

If you weren’t already aware, driving big trucks is good money. In the case of garbage truck drivers, there’s the added advantage of being near home. Long haul drivers have to leave the city and state, but some trucking jobs are a little different. For this position, you’ll need a CDL, a high school diploma or equivalent, and experience. That’s right, you have to work your way up to this pay grade, but you’ll still start off better than average.

3. Assistant Director, Solid Waste Operations – $84,969 – $160,222

Whoever said that government work doesn’t pay? Senior leadership in Florida is a very cushy job. You’ll need amazing analytical skills, exceptional judgment, and excellent communication skills to help the director of your department oversee the entire city’s trash services. It probably helps if you have experience working with unions as well since you’ll have to coordinate between several of them in this position.

2. Chief Sustainability/Environmental Executives – $166,910

These are the “big cheese,” the bosses in charge of sustainability. Though the titles vary slightly, the jobs are similar. In this power position, you have to not only handle oversight for an entire company but also develop and implement new initiatives to help further sustainable practices. You might even have to invent them yourself as you go. These are the people who will be leading future developments that allow all of us to continue living in reasonably clean environments free from contaminants created by human life.

1. Executives at Waste Management Inc. – $2.3 Million to $9 Million

Should you be so fortunate as to get tapped for this job, you will be among the best-paid executives in the world. As you’ve already seen, waste management is no small task. Waste Management Inc. is one of the largest waste management companies in the USA. Naturally, the pay scale is a reflection of this, but so are the duties. Managing a large corporation takes a good deal of talent and vision. Candidates for this job will likely need to show years of experience in the field and have at least one advanced degree in a related field.

Final Thoughts

From dumping cans in a trash compactor to overseeing one of the largest and most influential companies in the country, trash is a serious business. It takes a special kind of person to be willing to forego the glamour, or even just the average life the rest of us lead and get into this much filth for a living. Fortunately, you don’t have to personally get dirty to work in the business. No matter how you work with waste, you can expect to be paid well for it.


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