The recycling industry is absolutely vast and is a growing area of employment all across the world. Here are five areas of work within the industry. All of these jobs require different levels of skill.
Engineer Or Mechanic
Engineers and mechanics fix conveyor systems and baling machines, inspect machinery and develop more efficient ways of using physical processes to recycle materials. Recycling centres usually contain a great deal of heavy-duty machinery, and specialist engineers and mechanics are always needed to keep things running smoothly. As you might expect, machinery takes a beating from all of the materials passed through a recycling center, which leads to a great deal of necessary maintenance. These jobs can be very challenging, as recycling centers are often required to run 24 hours a day.
Pickers are the core operatives working inside a recycling center. It is their job to manually sort recyclable items of different kinds before sending them to the correct processing area. They are also responsible for removing objects which could affect the quality of the products eventually made from recycled materials. Pickers have a relatively hard and monotonous job, but reasonably good pay and terms of employment. As in other areas of recycling, pickers have access to strong and supportive unions that can help them fight their cause or dictate terms of employment.
In the vast majority of recycling centers, the material is baled either before, after or before and after processing. Baling involves the pressing of material into dense cubes, which are then tied with wire. Bales are far easier to store or export than loose materials. This process requires special machinery and appropriate training. Baling machines can be very dangerous due to their use of high-power pistons to crush material. Special training is required, which makes the role of a baler a specialist role. Balers are indispensable to recycling operations’ ability to turn a profit.
A huge amount of the recyclable waste that is created is made up of plastics. Plastic is one of the least biodegradable materials and can last thousands of years in the environment. In order to effectively recycle the many kinds of plastic, they need to be made compatible with each other. This is where recycling chemistry comes in. Chemists constantly work to develop processes for making plastics compatible. If you are a chemist that specializes in plastics, the recycling industry is one of the best places to work – and one of the places where you are most urgently needed. A large amount of plastic is simply scrapped due to incompatibility.
All that recyclable material has to be picked up and moved to and from recycling centres. This is the job of the driver. Recycling drivers often need heavy ground vehicle licenses and special training to operate truck-mounted cranes and crushers. They are paid well, but need to be willing to work hard and get dirty. The hours are often long and the mornings can be very early, but a great deal of money can be made by a dedicated operator.