Recycling and Reclamation Workers

Manufacturing > Production

Projected Growth: Slower than average

Projected Job Openings

Some Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Prepare and sort materials or products for recycling. Identify and remove hazardous substances. Dismantle components of products such as appliances.

Common job titles of Recycling and Reclamation Workers include:

Experience and Education

Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

  • 74.12% said they needed a High School Diploma.

  • 14.55% said they needed a Associate's Degree.


    Operate forklifts, pallet jacks, power lifts, or front-end loaders to load bales, bundles, or other heavy items onto trucks for shipping to smelters or other recycled materials processing facilities.

    Clean recycling yard by sweeping, raking, picking up broken glass and loose paper debris, or moving barrels and bins.

    Sort materials, such as metals, glass, wood, paper or plastics, into appropriate containers for recycling.

    Sort metals to separate high-grade metals, such as copper, brass, and aluminum, for recycling.

    Clean, inspect, or lubricate recyclable collection equipment or perform routine maintenance or minor repairs on recycling equipment, such as star gears, finger sorters, destoners, belts, and grinders.

    Operate balers to compress recyclable materials into bundles or bales.

    Operate processing equipment, such as fiber-sorters and grinders, to sort, crush, or grind recyclable materials.

    Deposit recoverable materials into chutes or place materials on conveyor belts.

    Operate automated refuse or manual recycling collection vehicles.

    Record logs of recycled materials or waste chemicals removed from products.

    Extract chemicals from discarded appliances, such as air conditioners or refrigerators, using specialized machinery, such as refrigerant recovery equipment.

    Collect recyclable materials from curbside for delivery to designated facilities.

    Collect and sort recyclable construction materials, such as concrete, drywall, plastics, or wood, into containers.

    Cut discarded products, such as appliances and automobiles, into small pieces using saws, blow torches, or other hand or power tools.

    Remove copper from circuit boards.

    Operate shredders to reclaim steel from discarded appliances.

    Clean materials, such as metals, according to recycling requirements.

    Dismantle wrecked vehicles by removing parts and labeling and sorting parts into containers.


Work vans

Wire cutters

Wheeled front end loaders

Utility work machines

Utility knives

Tractor-trailer trucks

Straight screwdrivers

All Tools

Skid steer loaders

Safety glasses

Refrigerant reclamation equipment

Recycling collection trucks

Protective ear muffs

Power saws

Power lifts

Photocopying equipment

Phillips head screwdrivers

Personal computers

Paper shredders

Pallet jacks

Multi-line telephone systems

Mobile radios

Material hoists

Material compactors

Magnetized can sorters

Laser facsimile machines

Horizontal balers

Hex wrenches

Handheld calculators



Fiber sorters

Extension ladders

Desktop computers

Crushing machines

Cordless drills

Claw hammers

Channel lock pliers

Cardboard balers

Blow torches

Belt conveyor systems

Adjustable hand wrenches


Work scheduling software


Operation and Control

Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Operation Monitoring

Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.


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