Recycling officer

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Recycling officers promote recycling in the community, and run local recycling schemes.

Salary range: £19,000 to £35,000

How to become a recycling officer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

University

Many employers will ask for a higher national diploma or degree in waste management or environmental sciences, accredited by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More information

College

You could do a college course to learn some of the skills you need for this job, like a Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Sustainable Waste Management.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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Apprenticeship

You could start by doing an advanced or higher apprenticeship in sustainable resource management. You could also do an environmental practitioner degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

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Volunteering and experience

Paid or unpaid experience working in waste management, or on local recycling or environmental projects, can help you get started if you do not have a higher education qualification.

Direct application

You could apply directly to work as a recycling officer. It will be helpful if you have a good standard of education, and experience of recycling projects and initiatives before applying.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in recycling from the Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • customer service skills
  • leadership skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • have a full driving licence

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • managing local recycling facilities and collection services
  • reporting and monitoring
  • assessing tenders and managing contracts
  • managing budgets and funding applications
  • investigating complaints
  • recruiting and training volunteers

Working environment

You could work in an office or at a waste recycling site.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career path and progression

You could move into freelance work as an environmental consultant.

With further study you could become a chartered waste manager.

You may also be able to apply for chartered environmentalist status. You can find out more about being a chartered environmentalist from the Society for the Environment.

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