Recycling Jobs

By Eric Hammer

Recycling jobs have been around for a while now, as many cities in the United States have instituted mandatory recycling programs. In essence, these kinds of jobs involve working on a kind of assembly line, sorting out trash and or scrap metal to figure out where it should go when it needs to be sorted. The job is pretty steady since there is always going to be trash to be sorted out and sent to the right locations, though it is a fairly monotonous job.

The reason it's monotonous is that, like other jobs which work on an assembly line, you don't really need to do much thinking. The work is largely automated, though unlike a typical assembly line, because you are sorting out other people's trash, you will need to have a keen eye to spot the items that made it into the sorting line which shouldn't have been put there to begin with.

The work can also be pretty smelly since many people recycle bottles and glass without first washing them, meaning that you'll often be around bits of unwashed food particles which were stuck inside of the bottles or cartons when they were originally thrown away, sometimes weeks before.

How Much Can You Make?

According to State University, the average salary for recycling jobs is in the neighborhood of around $12 per hour, though that can get higher or lower depending on where you are in the country and how much demand there is for the work.

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Another possibility for working in recycling jobs is to work in green building, where you take used materials and make them into other things. For example, used tires are often used for insulation purposes when creating housing projects. Many people also specialize in reclaimed furniture, which is made out of discarded wood and metal from older pieces of furniture and even things like ships, which are no longer useable.

Of course, you could also work in the origination side of recycling jobs, meaning that you could land work as a trash collector, which actually happens to pay much better than some recycling jobs. In all cases, the jobs don't require much in the way of training since you'll pretty much be trained on the job.

Qualifications / Requirements

As noted above, there are no real requirements for recycling jobs except that you have the physical stamina to stand for eight hours or more in front of an assembly line, sorting out trash. It is worth noting by the way that recycling jobs specifically involve the sorting of trash rather than the sorting of garbage. While most people tend to consider the two terms as being one and the same, officially, garbage refers to things that come from the kitchen or bathroom, such as rotting food and the like. Trash typically refers to things which you don't want anymore, but which theoretically could find some kind of use, such as scrap metal and wood.

First Steps

Start by contacting waste recycling companies in your area and ask if they have openings available. Mention that you are specifically interested in recycling jobs as opposed to other jobs involving the handling of waste. Consider contacting scrap yards and scrap metal smelters as well to find out if they have any recycling jobs available.


Check out these helpful resources to learn more about recycling jobs:

State University: Recycling Jobs - This is an excellent introduction to the world of recycling jobs and what such jobs involve.

Recycling Jobs - This is a listing of available recycling jobs from all around the country.

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