Waste management officers oversee the collection,
recycling and disposal of waste. Their key role is to
analyse information and make plans to meet business
and environmental targets. In this capacity, they are
normally attached to the cleansing or environmental
departments of the local council but could equally be
employed by commercial operations.
Depending on their experience, they could manage a team of staff, often refuse collection officers, which they must motivate, appraise and develop. External contractors are common within the industry, and servicing their contracts is also important. Waste management officers have responsibility for disposal processes and recycling facilities, and inspect them regularly.
Data is collected on the delivery of waste management services through site surveys. The waste management officer often collates this information; compares it to targets and regulations; analyses its impact; and writes reports for senior managers. Sometimes, they will draft estimates on the cost of implementing changes.
The handling, treatment and disposal of waste is overseen by the Waste Regulation Authority (WRA). This body regulates and monitors pollution control, licensing and storage practices. Waste management officers must ensure compliance with waste control regulations.
Some waste management officers are project officers, and may advise small businesses or local communities on waste reduction or environmental best practice. See Recycling Officer for further information on roles of this kind.
Waste management officers usually work 9am to 5pm,
Monday to Friday. Overtime and weekend work may be
often required, as waste disposal and recycling facilities
are open seven days a week.
Much of the work is office-based. However, a driving licence is essential as the job involves visiting contractors and facilities.
A waste management officer should:
Promotion is possible within waste disposal and
collection authorities, although relocation may be
necessary to achieve this.
Waste management officers can find routes into recycling, project management or operational management. Recycling roles include environmental project officer or environmental co-ordinator (see Recycling Officer profile for further details). Operational management roles involve budgetary control and the strategic management of resources and people. They require a number of years of supervisory experience.
As many waste management jobs are within the public sector, see the LG careers website for information on job opportunities.
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