4 Interesting Jobs in Recycling and Waste Management

4 Interesting Jobs in Recycling and Waste Management
  • Opening Intro -

    The recycling and waste management industry have experienced exponential growth in recent years.

    And this has opened up opportunities for the creation of new roles in this field, some of which can be described as jobs for the future.


This has been made possible by the integrated nature of the processes involved. Each of these processes on their own generates jobs in recycling and waste management.

Working in this field is no longer restricted to the role of the thrash sorter. For example, recycling entails the collection of recyclable materials from locations, sorting of collected materials followed by other processing activities. A material like metal can be recycled over and over.

More and more businesses strive to keep your organization’s waste away from landfills. This expands a room for many new careers and innovations related to recycling.

Waste management is a highly mechanized process. All these create unique openings for anyone looking for an interesting and rewarding career opportunity in this field. Careers relating to recycling and jobs in the waste management industry may include waste management officer, disposal technician, recycle officer and a futuristic role as trash engineer.

Careers and Jobs in Recycling and Waste Management: Trends and Future Growth

  1. Opportunities: 4,000 new jobs expected in 5 years in six key industries. (i.e., recyclable materials wholesalers, engineering construction, engineering services)
  2. Earnings: a person can expect an average starting salary of $45,290 according to data collected in 2015
  3. Trends/Growth: expected to see growth due to public concern over climate change and environment have supported the creation of new waste regulations that result in more demand for waste management specialists.

Waste Management Officer

This is a highly important target-driven role, as they must ensure that national and regional waste targets are met. They oversee refuse collection, waste disposal and recycling activities.

They are usually employed by waste management departments of local authorities but some are engaged as consultants by central government departments. Others take up private sector roles.

The work involves meetings with community associations and other stakeholders and there is often a need for frequent travel.

Many entry-level jobs require a degree in waste management or a related subject although some employers do not consider this essential. A postgraduate degree in waste management will enhance the chances of getting a job. Waste management officers are well paid. Starting salaries range between $40,000 and $50,000 and this may go up to about $80,273 after a couple of years.

Disposal Technician

This role involves the handling and processing of potentially hazardous materials for disposal according to established laws and procedures. Some legitimate business activities like construction work and mining generate potentially toxic materials which must be treated to render them harmless before they can be disposed of. These professionals sometimes work in oil exploration sites where they are required to deal with oil spillage and similar accidents.

Depending on the level of responsibility required, some candidates may be employed with a high school diploma and then undergo on-the-job training to obtain the necessary certification and licensing.

Roles involving the disposal and treatment of nuclear material will require a degree in nuclear physics or its equivalent.

Disposal technicians are highly paid since their work involves some element of risk. Starting salary is about $40,611, but the average salary hovers around $44,202. As an employee becomes more experienced, the salary may go up to $51,414.

Recycling Officer

Recycling officers promote the importance of implementing recycling initiatives and they collect data regarding on-going projects. They also ensure that regulatory and statutory requirements are complied with.

They can be employed by local authorities or hired as consultants to design or implement recycling schemes. They may also be required to manage recycling budgets and monitor their implementation. The job is a mix of field and office-based work and frequent travel is usually involved

A degree or diploma in a relevant subject such as environmental science is required, but some employers demand a postgraduate qualification for employment. In California, the starting salary is about $16,687 with the possibility of increasing to $47,649 in subsequent years. More experienced officers earn as much as $51,578 – $63,208 (5% of the survey).

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Trash Engineer

This is one of the careers among the possible future jobs in recycling and waste management, branching from environmental engineers. With humans currently generating billions of pounds of trash annually and the quantity ever-increasing, the world simply must come up with more creative ways to deal with all the trash currently being generated.

Turning our trash into clean gas is, of course, a distinct possibility, and engineers who position themselves for a future role in careers related to recycling will be rewarded bountifully. As of now, environmental engineers made about $83,420 a year on average.

Author Bio:
Gigi is a writer who loves writing about language and acquisition, career building and education-related stories in general.

Image Credit: waste management by Pixabay

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