Bin men are an essential job. We all rely on bin men to help remove and dispose of our waste and recycling. Bin men are also known as refuse collectors or waste operatives. You can also be described as recycling collectors, bin loaders and bin workers. Although the term “bin men” is gender-specific, it is a profession open to others, not just men. We often take bin men for granted but they are a vital service that we need. Being a bin man can also bring a great deal of satisfaction. This comes from knowing that you are contributing to public health. You would do a vital job in making sure the environment stays clean.
What Does a Bin Man do
Bin men might not be the most glamorous job. However, it’s an essential one that we all rely on. Don’t be fooled that the job is a very easy one. It involves a lot more than just tipping bins into the back of a lorry.
Who Employs Bin Men
Bin men are mainly employed by local authorities. These workers are usually connected with the hygiene department. Additionally, other bin men can work in a variety of locations such as at hospitals. It is also worth knowing than bin men working for local authorities and hospitals are usually classed as public sector workers.
Job Salary for a Bin Man
The official UK Government statistics on the job salary for a binman places the starting wage at £17,000, which rises to £25,000 for experienced binmen. Another source estimates the average binman’s salary in the UK to be £20,665.17. This is based on a recorded minimum of £18,533. There is a maximum salary of £26,260. Some other figures are useful to allow you to compare salaries. In the UK, the national average wage is estimated to be around £30,000 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The current National Living Wage must be paid to people aged 23 and over. This means the minimum untaxed income for a 40-hour week is over £21,000 per year. As with other jobs, there are significant regional differences in the salary of a binman in different parts of the UK. For example, binmen in London and the South East of England are usually paid more than in other parts of the UK.
How Often is a Binman Normally Paid
As a binman you can normally expect to be paid a salary every month, This payment will be made from the local authority.
Who Negotiates a Job Salary for a Binman
Salaries are agreed upon between trade unions and local authorities as the usual employers of binmen.
What Sort of Contracts Do Binmen Have
Binmen will have set contracts that guarantee a minimum number of hours. This is because they are public sector workers and local authorities have to be clear and fair with employees on their contract terms.
- Bin men can often make more money by doing additional overtime shifts. You can have additional work at weekends or during Bank Holidays.
- Payment for additional weekend shifts is often made at higher wage rates compared to the standard week of working.
How to Become a Bin Man
- Many bin man jobs are usually direct application and entry-level. On this route, employers will set their own entry qualifications.
- Generally, to become a bin man, you simply need to be over 18 years of age.
- Further, you can also apply for an apprenticeship to be a bin man.
Qualifications/Courses – Bin Man
- An intermediate waste resource operative apprenticeship is often needed to progress as a bin man.
- Many bin man apprenticeships are completed while working as part of the refuse team. The waste resource operative apprenticeship is a mix of learning in the workplace and off-the-job training.
- The training period for a waste resource operative apprenticeship can be up to a year.
- Working as a bin man and studying for an apprenticeship is classed as an Entry Level job. Standard entry-level qualifications include an entry-level award, entry-level certificate (ELC), entry-level diploma, entry-level English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), entry-level essential skills, entry-level functional skills or accreditation in Skills for Life
- Some employers will want some GCSEs, usually including English and maths for an intermediate apprenticeship. At the lowest entry level for Entry Level skills, the necessary qualifications are GCSE grades 3, 2, 1 or grades D, E, F, G, or a level 1 award. Other routes to meet these requirements are a level 1 certificate, or a level 1 diploma or a level 1 ESOL.
Qualifications/Courses – Bin Lorry Drivers
- Bin lorry drivers need to have a full driving licence and need to be experienced drivers.
- The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification is required to drive a lorry, bus or coach. You must have Driver CPC if you drive a lorry, bus or coach as the main part of your job.
- Bin lorry drivers must do 35 hours of periodic training to get your CPC. You must then do a further 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to maintain your CPC.
- It is illegal to drive professionally without CPC, and you can be fined up to £1000 for driving without it.
- Many bin men driving lorries look to gain their full Driver CPC at the same time as gaining their HGV driving licence, as there is a great deal of overlap between the testing.
Parts of the CPC test
There are four different tests that make up the CPC test. These four tests are:
- Part 1: A theory test which includes sections on multiple choice answers and also a hazard perception test. You will currently need 85% to pass multiple choice part . Additionally, the hazard perception test uses video clips and a score of around 67% to pass.
- Part 2: A computer-based test of seven case studies which test your understanding of common hazards and needs a mark of around 80% to pass.
- Additionally, Part 3 is another theory test which includes parts relating to vehicle safety questions, practical road driving, and some off-road exercises.
- Part 4: This is a practical test which you undertake with an actual vehicle.
Alternative Phrases for an HGV Licence
The Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) licence is also known as CAT C (Category C). This is the most commonly held HGV licence by UK lorry drivers and it is intended for vehicles in excess of 7.5 tonnes, with or without a trailer. An HGV-licenced driver is also termed as someone who has a Class 2 driving licence. A Class 2 driver is qualified to drive a truck over 3,500kg, including a trailer weighing up to 750kg. This smaller truck, frequently referred to as a rigid vehicle. It can weigh up to 32 tonnes within the terms of a Class 2 driving licence. It is important to know there is no difference between the LGV licence and the HGV licence. They mean exactly the same thing. Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) is an older term and Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) is a newer European Union term. Since Brexit, the term HGV is now more widely used again.
General Skills Required
- Commitment to high standards of cleanliness.
- Physical fitness is essential – there is a great deal of lifting work.
- Good movement, dexterity, and coordination are needed to be a successful bin man.
- Good walking ability is required, as 10 to 20 miles a day of walking is usually needed.
- This a customer-facing role. Remember that the public is the customer. Because of this a commitment to good and positive customer service is always positive.
- You must have a commitment to team working. This is because bin men are always part of a team.
- You must be able to follow instructions. Your work will involve learning from more experienced members of the team.
- You must be ready to work in all weather conditions.
- Ability to follow instructions relating to Covid-19 precautions.
- For most bin men jobs, previous experience in waste or litter picking is preferred but not essential.
- General positive attitude needed and an ability to learn on the job.
- Good time organisational skills in order to make sure you fulfil your quota of waste collections.
- The ability to use your own initiative to sort waste at the roadside is essential.
- You must be prepared to wear protective clothing and uniforms.
Mechanical Skills Required
- The ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools is important. This can also be an advantage in being a successful binman.
- Familiarity with the lifting mechanism of the bin lorry and, on occasion, operating the waste compactor safely and accurately.
Challenges of Being a Bin Man
- Bin collections often happen first thing in the morning. This can coincide with peak traffic times.
- We are all expected to recycle more of our waste. We also often split the waste between different designated recycling bags. Bin men are responsible for making sure waste is properly separated.
- Additionally, remember that glass can also end up being a hazard to the refuse collectors if it is sticking out of bin bags.
- Bins are often overfilled, and bin men have to deal with this problem.
- Additionally, you may also need to dispose of chemical substances or waste from hospitals.
- If you are a bin lorry driver, additional skills are required. Bin lorry drivers have to learn to stop precisely in time with the loaders and others with the bin cleaning team.
- Remember too that bin lorry drivers are also responsible for supervising their team of loaders.
- You will also need to be able to think for yourself when faced with waste challenges.
- Bin men are expected to help record the amount of waste being collected. This includes classifying waste into different types.
Type of Person Suited for this Work
- You need to be athletic. Further, you need to possess good handling skills.
- You must be a team player.
- A bin man has to be someone committed to high levels of customer satisfaction.
- You will also need to be a person who is good at getting up early in the morning.
- Someone who pays attention to different types of waste.
General Expected Working Hours
- For local authority bin men, shifts start early morning, usually between 5 am and 7 am. This early start means most bin men are usually finished by around 2 pm to 3 pm in the afternoon.
- Because of this most bin men contracts are usually around 40 hours a week.
- Additionally, there are other additional opportunities to work at weekends to earn additional money.
Location of Work
- Most bin men work outside in the community. You will usually follow designated routes. This means familiarity with an area is soon built up.
- However, a minority of bin men work at the recycling or waste centres which receive the waste.
- Experienced bin men can become team leaders of the bin men teams. The team leader or supervisor has a greater responsibility for team coordination.
- Usually only experienced bin workers can become drivers of bin lorries.
- If you have achieved the HGV licence required to drive a bin lorry, this is a valuable skill that can lead to other employment. Possessing this HGV CAT C driving licence will then allow you to drive most types of articulated lorries. This will include bin lorries and tipper trucks.
- With further training, you could become a waste management officer. Another option is becoming a recycling officer within the local authority. This comes with responsibility for planning waste collections across a wide area.