What Do Recycling Workers Do: Job Description, Responsibilities and Duties

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daily life of a Recycling and Reclamation Worker
are Recycling and Reclamation Workers happy with their job

Recycling and Reclamation Workers

Other names for this job might include Auto Dismantler, Bobcat Driver/Labor, Box Sorter, Computer Recycling Worker, Convenience Recycle Center Tech, Crane Operator, Deconstruction and Decontamination Operator, Deconstruction and Decontamination Waste Operations Specialist, Dispatch, Machine Runner, Equipment Operator

  • $55530
  • 61%
    Job satisfaction
  • Easy
    Becoming one
  • Medium
    Job growth
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Being A Recycling Worker: What You Really Do

In this job description guide, you will find out what do Recycling and Reclamation Workers do and what is their typical work day like.

After reading this, you will have a much better idea on whether you will like working as a Recycling and Reclamation Worker or not.

Job summary

Recycling Workers prepare and sort materials or products for recycling. Identify and remove hazardous substances. Dismantle components of products such as appliances.

We asked Recycling Workers how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction


How meaningful is this job


61% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 46% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.

Become one

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Typical day


On a daily basis, Recycling Workers Cut discarded products, such as appliances and automobiles, into small pieces using saws, blow torches, or other hand or power tools. They Extract chemicals from discarded appliances, such as air conditioners or refrigerators, using specialized machinery, such as refrigerant recovery equipment.

1 of the main responsibilities as A Recycling Worker is to Sort materials, such as metals, glass, wood, paper or plastics, into appropriate containers for recycling.

Some may also Collect recyclable materials from curbside for delivery to designated facilities.

In a normal work day, another thing that Recycling Workers do is they Deposit recoverable materials into chutes or place materials on conveyor belts.

In addition to that, they Operate automated refuse or manual recycling collection vehicles..

A typical day for A Recycling Worker look like this:

Cut industrial materials in preparation for fabrication or processing.
Sort recyclable materials.

We asked some Recycling Workers a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?23% said yes
Do you have to use email everyday in this job?2% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?37% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?47% said yes
Do you have to meet strict deadlines everyday in this job?33% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?12% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?9% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?41% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides the “typical day” things that Recycling Workers do, they Dismantle wrecked vehicles by removing parts and labeling and sorting parts into containers. They might also Clean materials, such as metals, according to recycling requirements.

A typical week or month for them might include:

Sort materials or products for processing, storing, shipping, or grading.
Disassemble equipment for maintenance or repair.
Clean materials to prepare them for production.

Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular (Set schedule and routine)

In a typical work week as A Recycling Worker, you can expect to work More than 40 hours per week.

Do Recycling Workers work in an office-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Recycling Workers work in a warehouse-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Recycling Workers work outdoors?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Builders and The Organizers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

You will like this career if you are someone who likes work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the careers require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

You also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

How we can help

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Career type

Green New & Emerging
Recycling and Waste Reduction
Environmental Service Systems

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Related to Recycling and Reclamation Workers Job Description

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Additional resources


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