Recycling Operative job description

A recycling operative goes to people’s homes and businesses to collect rubbish that can be used for a new purpose instead of simply thrown away. Through high quality waste collection, they promote and support waste minimisation and recycling, and improve environmental cleanliness.

You could work as part of a collection team, as part of the team sorting recyclable items at the waste recycling plant, or on both teams. The job may be physically demanding and most collection work would be outdoors in all weather conditions.

Duties may include:

  • Empty recycling boxes and wheelie bins into the collection vehicle
  • Put the boxes and bins back
  • Sort recyclables and check the right kind of materials have been put out
  • Use machinery to help you lift and sort items
  • Drive the waste collection vehicle
  • Inspect materials for any contaminations
  • Clean and maintain equipment
  • Speak to members of the public about recycling schemes
  • Meet the requirements of audits and cleaning specifications
  • Ensure the correct protective equipment is correctly worn at all times
  • Ensure work is carried out to the highest standards of health and safety

Desirable skills and attributes:

  • Self-motivated
  • Able to use own initiative
  • Proactive approach
  • Organised and able to manage their own time effectively
  • Communicate with people at all levels
  • Follow health and safety rules
  • Being physically fit
  • Ensure high standards of professionalism at all times
  • Be flexible to adapt to changing demands and conditions
  • Works harmoniously with others to get the job done
  • Respond effectively and resolve customer problems

Qualifications and experience needed:

There are no set qualifications to enter this job, but a good standard of Maths and English is usually essential, and a science subject such as environmental science is desirable.

Previous experience in cleaning industry is desirable, yet full training will usually be provided for the right candidate. It can also be helpful to have some experience with physical fitness, health and safety and recycling skills.

As you would be travelling to collect rubbish, some jobs may require a driving license. It may help for some roles to have a large goods vehicle (LGV) driving license or experience of driving a fork lift truck, but your employer may provide this on the job.

Further opportunities:

For an eager recycling operative, there may be the possibility to work up to becoming a highly experienced plant supervisor or manager. With qualifications and experience you could quickly move to a supervisory role at a waste collection site.

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