How to become a Recycling Officer

recycling officer careers

What does a Recycling Officer do?

Working for local councils, recycling officers help to plan and develop the councils’ environmental action plans, and carry out schemes for recycling waste materials such as glass, paper and cans. All councils have someone responsible for recycling policies, working for either environmental services or cleansing departments. Sometimes the work is combined with areas such as waste management, environmental health or community activities.

Typical duties of a recycling officer include some, or all, of the following:

  • working to improve established recycling strategies and developing new systems
  • developing partnerships with other council departments, such as cleansing
  • identifying new recycling opportunities
  • managing contracts with suppliers of waste removal services
  • advising local businesses on waste disposal and recycling initiatives
  • answering queries from members of the public and dealing with complaints
  • discussing the principles of recycling with local communities
  • engaging local communities in waste management initiatives.

What's the working environment like working as a Recycling Officer?

Recycling officers normally work flexible hours during the daytime over 39 hours, Monday to Friday. There may be part-time and job share opportunities.

The work is office-based, but generally involves some outdoor work, travelling to check on recycling areas, looking for new sites, and visiting companies and local groups to talk about recycling plans and policies.

Some recycling jobs may involve hands-on work in unhygienic environments for which protective clothing is provided, particularly gloves and masks. A driving licence may be useful.

What does it take to become a Recycling Officer?

To be a recycling officer you should have:

  • awareness and understanding of environmental issues
  • a proactive approach to waste management, recycling policies and environmentalism
  • excellent communication skills, and be confident to talk to council staff and the public
  • good negotiating skills and a persuasive nature to encourage people to care for their environment
  • good written communication skills to produce reports and plans
  • organisation and planning skills
  • project management skills
  • knowledge of office computer software.

Recycling Officer Career Opportunities

The main employers are local council waste management and refuse collection services.

It may be necessary to move from council to council to pursue promotion opportunities. There are limited opportunities to manage waste and recycling sections, and there is the opportunity to move into private sector work.

There are opportunities to move into related areas of work within local authorities, such as environmental projects officer or environmental co-ordinator.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Recycling Officer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Energy & Utility Skills Limited
Friars Gate Two
1011 Stratford Road
B90 4BN
Tel: 0845 077 9922

Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)
9 Saxon Court
St Peter's Gardens
Tel: 01604 620426

Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB)
Peterbridge House
3 The Lakes
Tel: 01604 231950


Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)
The Old Academy
21 Horse Fair
OX16 0AH
Tel: 0808 100 2040

Courses to help you become a Recycling Officer