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Recycling officers are responsible for advising about, developing and implementing waste recycling policies and schemes.
There are a small number of opportunities for recycling officers with private waste management companies.

What does a recycling officer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Administrative duties include:

  • managing contractors
  • working with the media and the general public
  • developing policies
  • promoting recycling via publications, talks and workshops
  • managing community recycling initiatives
  • visiting locally based recycling centres, companies, schools and community organisations
  • maintaining budgets
  • monitoring facilities
  • keeping statistical records
  • preparing reports, plans, publicity materials and displays.

Typical employers of recycling officers

Recycling officers are primarily employed by local authorities (county, district, borough and metropolitan councils) to reduce domestic and industrial waste by increasing what is reused. However, there may also be positions available with charitable and educational establishments.

Publications advertising vacancies include local and national newspapers, Opportunities and theMunicipal Journal. Previous relevant paid or voluntary work experience may be necessary. Common routes into the profession often include working in a support role. Not all positions are full-time and some officers are employed on a temporary basis only.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into becoming a recycling officer for both graduates and school leavers.

For graduates, any degree discipline is acceptable for entry into the profession, although a relevant qualification in a scientific subject such as environmental science, earth sciences, biology, chemistry or materials science may be preferred. A postgraduate qualification in waste/environmental management can be beneficial, particularly for graduates without an appropriate first degree. The Chartered Institution of Waste Management (CIWM) publishes a list of accredited degrees on its website.

It’s not always necessary to have a degree as long as school leavers have relevant work experience, for example paid or unpaid work on local environment/recycling projects. You can undertake courses while working, such as Level 1, 2 and 3 diplomas in waste management or recycling activities. Alternatively, there are often apprenticeships available in recycling and waste management – these are advertised on the government website.

To find out about more public sector careers that you can get into via a school leaver route (eg an apprenticeship or school leaver training programme) see the public sector section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for recycling officers

  • Management skills
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Oral/written communication skills
  • A genuine interest in the environment

Knowledge of appropriate environmental legislation can be helpful for job applications.

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