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Recycling operative Kerbside collector

Recycling operatives collect recyclable materials like glass, paper, plastics and metals from homes and businesses, and sort them at waste collection sites.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,000 to £28,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but employers may expect you to have a good standard of maths and English.

It may help if you have a large goods vehicle (LGV) driving licence or experience of driving a fork lift truck, but your employer may provide this on the job.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need excellent communication and customer service skills.

3. What you'll do

You could work as part of a collection team or as part of the team sorting recyclable items at the waste recycling plant. You may sometimes work on both teams.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • emptying recycling boxes and wheelie bins into the collection vehicle
  • putting boxes and bins back and making sure that you have left no litter behind
  • using lifting machinery to help you lift and sort waste
  • checking that the right kind of materials have been put out for recycling
  • sorting waste and removing non-recyclable items
  • inspecting materials for any contamination
  • speaking to members of the public about recycling schemes
  • cleaning and maintaining equipment

In some jobs you may also drive a waste collection vehicle.

4. Salary

Starter: £13,000

Experienced: £16,000

Highly Experienced: £24,000 to £28,000 (plant supervisors and managers)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, with possible overtime when necessary. In many jobs you'll start work very early in the morning.

This job can be physically demanding and most collection work is outdoors, in all weather conditions.

6. Career path and progression

With qualifications and experience you could move into a supervisory role at a waste collection site.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017