Recycling specialist

Recycling specialist article illustration


Recycling specialists research recycling policies and legislation, and supervise implementation in an organisation to ensure that waste management occurs according to regulations. They perform inspections, provide recycling equipment, and supervise recycling workers. They also advise organisations on ways they can improve their waste management procedures.

Here are some typical duties of recycling specialists:

  • Design, implement, and manage recycling programs for communities, businesses, and organizations, considering the types of materials generated and the local recycling infrastructure.
  • Conduct waste audits to assess the composition of solid waste streams, identify recyclable materials, and develop strategies for waste reduction.
  • Establish efficient systems for collecting, separating, and transporting recyclable materials, working with waste collection services and recycling facilities.
  • Develop and deliver educational programs to raise awareness about the importance of recycling, proper waste disposal, and the environmental benefits of recycling initiatives.
  • Collaborate with local communities, businesses, and government agencies to encourage participation in recycling programs and address specific recycling needs.
  • Stay informed about local, national, and international recycling and waste management regulations, ensuring compliance with relevant laws and standards.
  • To enhance efficiency, explore and implement technology solutions for improved recycling processes, such as smart bins, tracking systems, and data analytics.
  • Monitor market trends for recyclable materials, assess recycling market conditions, and identify opportunities to enhance the economic viability of recycling programs.
  • Establish relationships with recycling facilities, negotiate contracts, and ensure that collected materials are processed and recycled appropriately.
  • Advise on waste reduction strategies, including source reduction, reuse initiatives, and sustainable packaging practices to minimize waste generation.
  • Track and evaluate the performance of recycling programs, analyzing data on collection rates, contamination levels, and overall program effectiveness.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to recycling specialist:

filling station recycling co-ordinator
recycling research specialist
recycling director
senior recycling co-ordinator
recycling supervisor
department store recycling co-ordinator
recycling team supervisor
outlet centre recycling co-ordinator
community recycling co-ordinator
community recyling coordinator
recycling development co-ordinator
recycling operations manager
supermarket recycling co-ordinator
recycling and reclamation co-ordinator
household recycling co-ordinator
recycling specialist
recycling inspector
waste management consultant
recycling co-ordinator
recycling specialist advisor
recycling management specialist
waste recycling co-ordinator
household recycling coordinator
recycling equipment specialist
recycling development coordinator
recycling programe manager
solid waste division supervisor
recycling and reclamation coordinator
recycling manager
recycling and waste reduction specialist
waste consultant
trainee recycling co-ordinator
recycling programme manager
garden centre recycling co-ordinator
recycling equipment technician
reycling development co-ordinator
recycling coordinator
waste recovery specialist
hypermarket recycling co-ordinator
waste recycling specialist
recycling policy advisor
recycling policy specialist

Working conditions

Recycling specialists work in various settings, including municipal waste management departments, private waste management companies, non-profit organizations, and consulting firms. The role may involve fieldwork, community outreach events, and collaboration with diverse stakeholders.

Minimum qualifications

To become a recycling specialist, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in environmental science, waste management, sustainability, or a related field is typically required. Practical experience gained through internships, work in waste management, or recycling initiatives contributes to the development of recycling specialists. Continuous learning, staying updated on recycling technologies and industry best practices, and engaging with the broader waste management community enhance the effectiveness of recycling specialists. Strong communication, community engagement, and project management skills are crucial for successfully implementing and promoting recycling programs.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Recycling specialist is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Recycling specialist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to recycling specialist.

waste management officer
airport environment officer
environmental programme coordinator
environmental protection manager
environmental policy officer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of recycling specialist.

  • Waste management: The methods, materials and regulations used to collect, transport, treat and dispose of waste. This includes recycling and monitoring of waste disposal.
  • Environmental legislation: The environmental policies and legislation applicable in a certain domain.
  • Hazardous waste storage: The regulations and procedures surrounding the safekeeping of materials and substances which pose health and safety risks.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of recycling specialist.

  • Ensure compliance with environmental legislation: Monitor activities and perform tasks ensuring compliance with standards involving environmental protection and sustainability, and amend activities in the case of changes in environmental legislation. Ensure that the processes are compliant with environment regulations and best practices.
  • Ensure compliance with waste legislative regulations: Implement and monitor company procedures for the collection, transport and disposal of waste, in compliance with all regulations and legal requirements.
  • Maintain recycling records: Maintain records and process facts and figures about type and volume of different recycling operations.
  • Obtain relevant licenses: Comply with specific legal regulations, e.g. install the necessary systems and provide the necessary documentation, in order to obtain the relevant license.
  • Inspect recycling procedures: Inspect the implementation of waste management and recycling procedures in an organisation, and the applicable legislation, in order to ensure compliance.
  • Research recycling grant opportunities: Research litter control and recycling loan and grant opportunities; follow up and complete application processes.
  • Oversee quality control: Monitor and assure the quality of the provided goods or services by overseeing that all the factors of the production meet quality requirements. Supervise product inspection and testing.
  • Carry out environmental audits: Use equipment to measure various environmental parameters in order to identify environmental problems and investigate how they can be resolved. Perform inspections in order to ensure compliance with environmental legislation.
  • Update licenses: Update and display all necessary licenses as regulatory agencies require.
  • Develop recycling programs: Develop and coordinate recycling programs; collect and process recyclable materials in order to reduce waste.
  • Identify new recycling opportunities: Investigate ideas and spot opportunities to improve the collection, processing, and recycling of waste materials.
  • Promote environmental awareness: Calculate the carbon footprint of business processes and other practices in order to promote sustainability and to raise awareness for the environmental impact.
  • Monitor legislation developments: Monitor changes in rules, policies and legislation, and identify how they may influence the organisation, existing operations, or a specific case or situation.
  • Coordinate shipments of recycling materials: Coordinate and oversee shipments of recycling materials. Communicate with processing companies and shipping brokers.
  • Train staff on recycling programs: Train employees on the type of recycling methods and programs available for a company and all its procedures and policies that should be taken account of.
  • Follow recycling collection schedules: Follow and apply waste collection schedules, handed out by the organisations that collect and process the materials for recycling, in order to optimise efficiency and service.
  • Manage recycling program budget: manage the annual recycling program and respective budget of an organisation.
  • Build business relationships: Establish a positive, long-term relationship between organisations and interested third parties such as suppliers, distributors, shareholders and other stakeholders in order to inform them of the organisation and its objectives.
  • Advise on waste management procedures: Advise organisations on the implementation of waste regulations and on improvement strategies for waste management and waste minimisation, to increase environmentally sustainable practices and environmental awareness.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of recycling specialist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of recycling specialist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Follow control of substances hazardous to health procedures: Adhere to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) procedures for activities that involve hazardous substances, such as bacteria, allergens, waste oil, paint or brake fluids that result in illness or injury.
  • Operate recycling processing equipment: Operate recycling processing equipment such as granulators, crushers and balers; process and sort materials to be recycled.
  • Educate on recycling regulations: Educate organisations and individuals on the correct procedures and legislation concerning the recycling of different types of waste in different types of containers, waste collection procedures, and the sanctions following non-compliance to legislation.
  • Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
  • Manage health and safety standards: Oversee all personnel and processes to comply with health, safety and hygiene standards. Communicate and support aligning these requirements with the company’s health and safety programs.
  • Recruit employees: Hire new employees by scoping the job role, advertising, performing interviews and selecting staff in line with company policy and legislation.
  • Arrange equipment repairs: Arrange for equipment repairs when necessary.
  • Ensure equipment availability: Ensure that the necessary equipment is provided, ready and available for use before the start of procedures.
  • Analyse environmental data: Analyse data that interpret correlations between human activities and environmental effects.
  • Manage contracts: Negotiate the terms, conditions, costs and other specifications of a contract while making sure they comply with legal requirements and are legally enforceable. Oversee the execution of the contract, agree on and document any changes.

ISCO group and title

2143 – Environmental engineers

  1. Recycling specialist – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Jas Min on Unsplash
Last updated on January 21, 2024