Collecting our garbage is a thankless job, but without refuse and recyclable material collectors, our lives would be far more unpleasant.
Besides having to deal with some of the grossest things imaginable, it's also an entire day of jumping on and off a truck and hauling heavy bags and trashcans. Lifting, pulling and pushing for such extended periods of time poses a painful challenge to the same muscles, tendons and ligaments every day.
Contact with some of the materials we toss, such as decaying food and garden waste, can cause gastrointestinal distress, such as nausea and diarrhea [source: Kuijer and Frings-Dresen]. Respiratory issues are also reported frequently.
More alarming, most fatalities are related to the garbage truck itself. It's possible to be crushed by a compacter blade, run over by the truck as it's backing up, or fall from the vehicle. Not a great way to go.