Refuse and recyclable material collectors, commonly called garbage men, travel by truck picking up trash and recyclable material that people have placed outside homes and businesses. This is the only occupation in the large category of material moving jobs in which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts substantial employment growth between 2008 and 2018. Illinois is a high-paying area for garbage men.
Of the approximately 126,360 refuse and recyclable materials collectors working in the United States in 2010, about 3,610 were employed in Illinois, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The majority worked in the greater Chicago area, which had an estimated 2,090 of these workers in 2010.
The average salary of a garbage man in Illinois as of May 2010 was $20.74 per hour, or $43,140 per year. This salary ranked third in the country for top pay in this occupation, behind Washington state at an average of $21.94 per hour and New York state at $23.85. Chicago ranked in fourth place for top pay by U.S. metropolitan area, at $22.81 per hour, or $47,450 per year. Refuse and recyclable material collectors in the greater San Francisco area had the top pay by city, at $26.81 per hour on average.
The middle 50 percent of Illinois refuse and recyclable materials collectors in 2010 earned $15.77 to $26.51 per hour, or $32,810 to $55,150 per year. The bottom 10 percent of the pay scale was at or below $11.59 per hour, or $24,120 per year. The top 10 percent were making $29.27 per hour and higher, or $60,890 per year and more.
Pay by Region
Except for the Chicago area, Peoria was the highest-paying city in Illinois for garbage men, at an average rate of $22.09 per hour. Springfield ranked third at $19.31. The lowest pay for these workers in Illinois was in the northwest non-metropolitan area of the state, at $10.25 per hour on average. The next lowest average pay was in the Champaign-Urbana area, at $14.26. Refuse and recyclable materials collectors in other parts of Illinois earned about $15 to $17.40 per hour on average.