Recycling officer: job description

Recycling officers give advice about recycling waste and develop policies that help people recycle.

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

Recycling officers tend to work for local authorities (councils). They develop and implement policies to help people recycle more easily, give advice to the public and run events and schemes to promote recycling.

Other typical tasks include:

  • managing contractors
  • responding to queries and complaints from the public
  • managing community recycling initiatives
  • visiting locally based recycling centres, companies, schools and community organisations
  • maintaining budgets
  • monitoring facilities
  • keeping records
  • recruiting, support and train volunteers
  • staying informed about current best practice and legislation
  • preparing reports, plans, publicity materials and displays.

Typical employers of recycling officers

  • Local authorities
  • Environmental organisations
  • Recycling charities
  • Educational institutions
  • Recycling sites

Jobs are advertised on local authority websites, on specialist public sector sites and environmental job sites. Senior roles may also be advertised on national job sites.

Qualifications and training required

You don't always need a degree to become a recycling officer, although a qualification in environmental science, earth sciences, biology, chemistry or materials science may strengthen your application.

For those without a degree, gaining some kind of further education (eg a HNC or HND in waste management or environmental sciences) could well be beneficial. However, commitment to the benefits of recycling and experience working with the public will also prove very useful. As you progress, you can work towards specialist qualifications through the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management.

Key skills for recycling officers

Recruiters look for candidates who are organised and enthusiastic about recycling. Other essential skills and qualities include:

  • project management skills
  • excellent problem-solving skills
  • interpersonal skills
  • confidence in giving talks and presenting information
  • willingness to work outside office hours and to travel to events and recycling sites
  • good spoken and written communication skills.

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