Garbologist, waste specialist: the job of the future

rudologue analysant des déchets

Each Belgian generates 3,500kg of industrial waste per person per year. And that’s just for the manufacturing of our consumer goods. We need a specialist who can propose possible solutions. For less waste and better waste management.

A garbologist is involved at every step of the waste process

This specialist is now known as a garbologist, a brand new profession with a very bright future. Their aim is to analyse produced waste, propose solutions to prevent it from increasing at its source, and optimise its treatment. They achieve this through advocating re-use, recycling, consignment, or – in the absence of other solutions – the use of waste as an energy source.

Garbologists are far from being “rubbish bin specialists”… not a very appealing title. In reality, it’s someone who’s looking to promote waste and waste management policy. But that’s just one of their missions.

Last but not least, they must recommend plans to avoid environmental pollution. In this sense, they would find alternatives to landfills and incineration and manage the conversion of polluted sites.

A garbologist’s reach is further than we think

Garbologists tackle the whole range of waste producers. They propose solutions to companies and public managers for the management of waste from all sources:

  • households: we throw away our excess, obsolescence, and this behaviour of throwing away instead of repairing;
  • industrial: waste comes from production processes, surplus raw materials, finished or semi-finished products for disposal;
  • hospital: rubbish that requires special treatment. It’s not just about destroying waste, but also reducing it;
  • nuclear: this waste requires different treatment and storage depending on its type. Some is more radioactive than others.

The garbologist can bring their expertise to various levels of government (municipalities, provinces, etc.), planning departments, consulting firms or associations specialised in the environment.

They can also work at industrial companies, where waste treatment is a major issue.

Garbologist, job of the future

Not just anyone can be a garbologist. This job requires university or engineering training in geology, biology, chemistry, the environment. There’s only one Master in Garbology, in France at the University of Mans. But what about Belgium?

It’s a job of the future, as European and international waste management standards are becoming increasingly demanding. Companies and public authorities will have to seek the advice of specialists.

Whether by obligation or intention to pollute less, economic actors need help answering their questions. How do they reduce their waste flows, sort, recycle, but also repair? Should all waste be destroyed or reused? And how do we avoid negatively impacting the health of the planet?

All these questions prove that garbologists have their work cut out for them.  First as an advice giver and then in the implementation of solutions, this new profession will make waves.

That said, those in the circular economy didn’t wait for the garbologists to arrive on the scene to identify waste as raw material. This is the topic of our podcast on waste recycling.


Usitoo is, in the eyes of any garbologist, a key partner by promoting re-use. Have items you don’t use anymore? Give them to us. In exchange, you’ll receive points for renting other items that are useful to you. Our extensive catalogue is full of items ready for their next lives.

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