Americans generate about 230 million tons of garbage a year. That’s about 4.6 pounds a day, on average, dumped by each of us.
Picking it up is dirty and dangerous. The fatal injury rate for refuse collectors — at 35 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers — is exceeded by that of only four other occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Is all this worth it for workers? Well, their earnings vary pretty widely across the United States.
We ranked the 50 states based on their average wages for garbage and recycling collectors, starting with the states with the lowest wages. Our ranking is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest data, which is for 2018.