Recycling and Reclamation Workers: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

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

  • Operate shredders to reclaim steel from discarded appliances.
  • Collect and sort recyclable construction materials, such as concrete, drywall, plastics, or wood, into containers.
  • Sort materials, such as metals, glass, wood, paper or plastics, into appropriate containers for recycling.
  • Extract chemicals from discarded appliances, such as air conditioners or refrigerators, using specialized machinery, such as refrigerant recovery equipment.
Read more about what does a Recycling and Reclamation Worker really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$34490 per year

Average hourly wage
$17 per hour

Recycling and Reclamation Workers with little to no experience tend to make between $20140 and $23860 while the more experienced ones can earn over $40840 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
AK $27 $56,120
DC $27 $55,860
WY $26 $54,480
NM $24 $50,040
SD $23 $46,940

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Recycling and Reclamation Worker is to move to a higher paying state like AK. Right now, the highest paying states for Recycling and Reclamation Workers are AK, DC, WY, NM and SD.

However, a higher pay at AK doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at AK might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Recycling and Reclamation Worker is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Recycling and Reclamation Workers what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by an Associate’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Read more about how to become a Recycling and Reclamation Worker and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Recycling and Reclamation Worker.

Suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Suitable for people who wants to work in a supportive work environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work outdoors.
It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Not suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
One of the lowest paying jobs
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

61% of Recycling and Reclamation Workers said they were satisfied with their job and 46% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

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.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like 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..

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

Learn more about Recycling and Reclamation Workers

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Recycling and Reclamation Workers job description, Recycling and Reclamation Workers salary, Recycling and Reclamation Workers information, what is the job of a Recycling and Reclamation Worker like, pros and cons about Recycling and Reclamation Workers, colleges and universities for Recycling and Reclamation Workers, is Recycling and Reclamation Workers the right career for me, careers in Production

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