A recycling officer is responsible for environmental and waste reduction within a local authority. This is done through recycling schemes, with the recovery and re-use of a wide range of materials including glass, paper, cardboard, plastics, metals and textiles.
You could be:
- organising recycling of a range of materials for use in new products
- improving existing recycling systems and developing new ones to meet national targets
- collecting and comparing statistics to write reports on meeting future targets
- negotiating contracts with outside companies to recover and re-use materials
- advising local businesses on recycling and waste disposal
- managing budgets, producing financial forecasts and submitting data to regulatory bodies
- producing materials and giving presentations about recycling initiatives and to inform the public
- organising the distribution of recycling and composting bins and boxes
- keeping up to date with current policies and legislation on waste management.
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.
Pay rates for recycling officers are usually around £19,000 to £28,000 a year, rising up to around £36,000 with more experience. Senior managers may earn up to £45,000 or more.
- You would normally work a 37-hour week, Monday to Friday.
- You would spend part of your working day supervising recycling plants.
- You might have to travel to different sites.
- You may visit schools and community groups to give talks on recycling.
- You will spend time visiting companies to advise on waste management.
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- Most entrants are graduates or have relevant work experience, but some employers may accept a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Diploma (HND).
- Suitable degrees include environmental science, environmental management, sciences, wastes management or sustainability.
- Postgraduate qualifications are useful. The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) website has a list of relevant courses.
- You might be able to start at technician level and then move on to be a manager.
- For many jobs a full driving licence is essential.
Recycling officer's work within local authorities, community organisations or private waste management companies.
You can search for jobs on the local authority website www.myjobscotland.gov.uk under waste management.
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What Does it Take?
You need to be:
- interested in environmental issues and sustainability
- good at solving problems
- decisive with sound judgement
- attentive to detail
- able to write accurate reports and make presentations
- well organised to work under pressure to meet deadlines
- responsible and aware of health and safety
- willing to keep up to date with legislation.
You should have:
- IT skills
- good communication and negotiation skills
- confidence to speak in public.
- Training is normally on the job with courses available through the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB).
- CIWM has a Structured Learning and Development Scheme (SLD) to help graduates to gain the practical skills needed for a career in wastes management.
- The CIWM also offers a continuing professional development (CPD) scheme.
- Recycling officers often move into a broader career in waste management.
- Taking a postgraduate course may help you to progress to higher management jobs.
- You could become a consultant to waste management companies and local authorities.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Energy and Utility Skills
Tel: 0845 077 9922
Energy and Utility Skills is the Sector Skills Council for the electricity, gas, waste management and water sectors. Their website has a section aimed at 14 to 19 year olds on careers in these sectors.
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