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Waste disposal officers are responsible for advising about, developing, implementing and supervising the safe and efficient collection, transportation, disposal and recycling of waste.
The number of job opportunities within this field of work is expanding as a result of new legislation and government targets relating to landfill taxation, packaging, recycling etc.

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

Key responsibilities of the job include:

  • helping to formulate efficient and effective waste disposal plans
  • liaising with private waste collection companies
  • devising and administering waste management budgets
  • managing outside contractors
  • keeping statistical records and preparing reports
  • ensuring compliance with current waste disposal/handling/transportation legislation
  • monitoring levels of pollution from waste disposal sites
  • working closely with recycling officers
  • handling queries or complaints from the public
  • undertaking research

Typical employers of waste disposal officers

  • Waste collection and disposal departments
  • Local authorities (county, district, borough and metropolitan councils)
  • Private waste management companies

Vacancies are advertised in the press, in vacancy bulletins produced by local authorities and a range of publications including Opportunities, The Environment Post and New Civil Engineer as well as their online equivalents. There are restricted opportunities for career progression – advancement may require relocating or gaining employment within the private sector.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into becoming a waste disposal officer for both university graduates and school leavers.

For graduates, a relevant degree in a subject such as civil/structural engineering, environmental or earth sciences, geography, geology, biological or biochemical sciences, or chemical or physical sciences is normally preferred. A postgraduate qualification in waste or environmental management may be beneficial, particularly for graduates without an appropriate first degree.

Knowledge of appropriate environmental legislation can be helpful for job applications. It is normally necessary to possess relevant experience, for example in voluntary recycling or environmental projects.

School leavers can enter the profession by gaining industry-recognised qualifications as a supervisor or technician within a waste management company. If you choose to work your way up through a company in this fashion, the qualifications you work towards could include:

  • Foundation degree in wastes management
  • Waste supervisor level 3 diploma
  • Waste management operations level 4 diploma

There are also apprenticeship opportunities in waste management. Apprenticeships are advertised on the government website.

To find out about other careers in the public sector that you can get into via a school leaver route, see the public sector section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for waste disposal officers

  • Capable of working independently
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Good administrative skills

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