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A waste collector is a person employed by a public or private enterprise to collect and remove refuse and recyclables from residential, commercial, industrial or other collection site for further processing and disposal. Specialised waste collection vehicles featuring an array of automated functions are often deployed to assist waste collectors in reducing collection and transport time and for protection from exposure. Waste and recycling pickup work is physically demanding and it exposes workers to a number of occupational hazards.
Statistics show waste collection to be one of the most dangerous jobs, at times even more dangerous than police work, but consistently less dangerous than commercial fishing and ranch and farm work. On-the-job hazards include broken glass; medical waste such as syringes; caustic chemicals; falling objects from overloaded containers; diseases that may accompany solid waste; asbestos; dog attacks and pests; inhaling dust, smoke, and fumes; inclement weather, traffic accidents, and odors so foul that they can make one physically sick.
In developing countries waste collection is often accomplished before conventional waste collectors by Waste pickers who may be self-financing through recycling and repair and/or reselling. Examples include the "Bottley-walla", recycler of printed material, bottles, in India, castes such as the Zabbaleen in Egypt, or tip scavenger groups in Brazil such as documented in Hauling (film).
Former waste collectors
Fictional waste collectors
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