Fire had broken out in the engine of one of the cars involved in the two-vehicle crash and two people were trapped.
The workers put out the fire and called 999 to alert emergency services.
An elderly man and woman were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after the crash, close to a hump back railway bridge in Baschurch Road, Bomere Heath, near Shrewsbury.
The crew of three men, Dave Trow, Stuart Pugh and Sean Lane, were today been praised for their efforts.
Guy Williams, station manager at Shropshire Fire and Rescue, said: "There was a Veolia rubbish collection lorry that was the first on the scene after the collision and the team saw one of the vehicles with two people trapped inside had set on fire in the engine compartment.
"They quickly got their extinguisher from their lorry and put the fire out before disconnecting the battery.
"I can't praise highly enough the Veolia crew, because they prevented something which could have been even more serious – and because of their actions we were able to get working straight away on cutting the man and woman out of the car."
Veolia spokeswoman Cat Slaytor said: "Our crew acted very quickly. We are very proud of them."
Dr Ed Penman, who was driving past and arrived shortly after the binmen, said: "The bin crew deserve to be commended. I arrived on the scene only a minute or so after they did and by that time they had already made the scene safe, put out a fire, phoned 999 and were doing the best they could to help the driver and passenger."
The victims were cut out of the car by fire crews from Baschurch, Shrewsbury and Wellington using hydraulic cutting equipment.
The driver and passenger from one car, a couple believed to be in their 80s, were trapped in the wreckage in yesterday's crash. The front seat passenger, a woman, was in a serious condition with a chest injury. The driver suffered chest and pelvic injuries and both were airlifted to Royal Stoke University Hospital.
The driver of the second car, a man, suffered minor injuries and was taken to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital by ambulance. A third casualty was treated by paramedics at the scene.
The road was closed for a number of hours while the scene was cleared.
Trains between Shrewsbury and Gobowen were disrupted until 12pm because of some damage caused to the railway bridge by the collision.
Witnesses to the accident should call 101 quoting the reference 162 of November 10.