Recycling operatives work in recycling centres and sort glass, paper, cardboard, plastics, metals and textiles for saving and making into new products.
You could be:
- showing members of the public to the correct bays to deposit their recyclable items
- sorting through waste materials for recycling in the yard or warehouse
- hand picking items off a sorting conveyor belt, inspecting them for contamination
- operating equipment such as guillotines or machinery that make bales (large bundles of packages or cartons tied with ropes or wires)
- checking the machines or air jets which separate paper from plastic bottles, tins and cans
- separating plastic bottles into two types by hand and putting them into machines to make bales
- sending the containers of materials to be recycled into new products
- keeping the site clean and tidy
- recording site usage, movement of materials and other relevant paperwork.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organization you work for
- the demand for the job.
Salaries for recycling operatives start around £20,000 a year and can go up to around £26,000.
- You will sometimes work indoors at a conveyor belt or work with production machinery.
- At other times, you will be working outside in all weathers, sometimes moving around large items or materials.
- With some companies you might work 12-hour shifts, others you will work normal hours 5 days out of 7.
- You have to wear safety clothing including strong gloves.
- You might have to work with hazardous and toxic waste.
- Your working environment will be dusty, noisy and smelly.
- You might have to work at heights or in confined spaces.
Workforce Employment Status
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- A good general education is useful.
- You might need a full driving licence.
- You must be fit as the work is physically demanding.
You could find work with a local council on a civic amenity (CA) site or specialist recycling company. You can search for jobs on the local authority website www.myjobscotland.gov.uk.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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Job Outlook Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You need to be:
- aware of waste recycling importance
- able to follow instructions closely
- able to complete paperwork
- able to work under pressure and meet deadlines
- friendly and polite when dealing with customers
- honest and reliable
- aware of health and safety
- able to work on your own or as part of a team.
- Training is normally on the job including Manual Handling.
- At first you will work with an experienced recycling operative until you are able to work on your own.
- You might train to operate fork lift equipment.
After gaining experience, you could move on to be a team leader or waste management officer.
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