Landfill Operator

Run compacters to minimize the space that trash takes up at the dump.
picture of Landfill Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$26,000 – $71,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Landfill Operators do?

Your main job as a Landfill Operator is to keep the trash as compacted and orderly as it can possibly be. By reducing the amount of wasted space in the landfill, you can keep it open and operational for a longer period of time, and you may earn that Christmas bonus you’ve been counting on.

You use heavy equipment to compact the garbage and distribute it evenly when you’re a Landfill Operator. Each layer is covered with a dusting of dirt, and chemicals are applied to keep pests at bay. You may also spray the garbage layers with water to keep dust from blowing around as part of your Landfill Operator position.

You use an amazing assortment of heavy equipment during your workday, from backhoes to tractors to bulldozers. This may awaken your childhood love of playing with trucks.

At times, you need to step down from your equipment and talk with customers. They bring their own truckloads of garbage, and you’ll likely joke with them about the smell and your ability to get used to it. You inspect their load to make sure they’re not bringing in any banned materials, such as chemicals and tires.

You have to gently remind your customers that they can take hazardous waste to a separate location, and provide directions, if needed. You find them a spot to deposit their loads, and wave at them as they drive away.

When large garbage trucks return from their runs around the neighborhood, you work as a Flagger, and help them drive up to the proper spot and deposit their loads.

Should I be a Landfill Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Landfill Grader, Land Leveler, Sanitary Landfill Operator

    How to become a Landfill Operator

    Most Landfill Operators have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:95aaaa&chl=no+college+%2852%25%29|certificate+%2848%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,52,52
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