Recycling and Reclamation Worker

Auto Dismantler, Bobcat Driver/Labor, Box Sorter, Computer Recycling Worker   More Names
Convenience Recycle Center Tech, Crane Operator, Deconstruction and Decontamination Operator, Deconstruction and Decontamination Waste Operations Specialist, Dispatch, Machine Runner, Equipment Operator, Forklift Driver (Team Lead Driver) Recycling and Waste Dock, Forklift-Picker, Household Hazardous Waste Recycling Worker, Machine Operator, Non-Ferrous Material Handler, Operator (Specialist), Pallet Sorter, Picker and Sorter, Load and Unload, Reclamation Worker, Recovery Assistant, Recyclable Materials Sorter, Recycler, Forklift Driver, Truck Driver, Recycling Assistant, Recycling Sorter, Recycling Tech, Recycling Technician, Recycling Worker, Refuse and Recycling Worker, Refuse Laborer, Scrap Metal Processing Worker, Shredding Specialist, Sort Line, Sort Line Worker, Sorter, Transfer Operator, Transfer Station Operator, Waste Management Recycling Technician, White Goods Appliance Tech, Yard Assistant

Recycling workers and reclamation workers have related, but different jobs. Recycling workers sort and process materials such as glass, plastic, and paper. They generally work with items that are made of just one material, like glass bottles. Reclamation workers process items made of many materials, such as cars and refrigerators. They reduce the items to their basic parts--plastic, copper, steel, glass, and so on.

Some recycling workers gather items for recycling. They drive recycling collection trucks and pick up materials from curbsides. They place items in the proper bins in the trucks. In areas with commingled recycling, workers do not have to sort the items. Other recycling workers collect materials at buy-back and drop-off centers. They direct customers to unloading areas and help them unload and sort materials. The sorted materials are sent to processing centers. Workers may clean the unloading area and move containers.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
3% - Little or no change
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $22,150 - $38,930    Hourly: $11 - $19
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

Recycling and reclamation workers work in plants or yards with heavy equipment. The work is dirty and potentially hazardous, requiring constant attention. The work demands physical exertion, and many low-level jobs, such as sorting, are repetitious.

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Legal Requirements

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

High School or GED (HS)
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Percent Job Growth:

3% - Little or no change
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Typical Wages:

Annual: $22,150 - $38,930

Hourly: $11 - $19