Recycling Workers perform routine tasks in recycling facilities, such as sorting, packing and storing plastics, glass, paper, metals and other recyclable materials which have been collected from household, commercial and industrial premises in preparation for use in creating new products.
Also known as: Recycling Sorter.
Formal qualifications are not usually required to work as a Recycling Worker.
Dismantles products (such as cars and appliances) and separates their components.
Identifies and removes hazardous substances (including chemicals from discarded appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators).
Sorts materials, such as metals, glass, wood, paper or plastics, into appropriate containers for cleaning, recycling, processing, storing, shipping or grading.
Cleans materials (such as metals) according to recycling requirements and prepares them for production (such as cutting in preparation for fabrication or processing).
Operates equipment, such as forklifts, automated refuse and manual recycling collection vehicles, to move materials for processing.
Deposits recoverable materials into chutes or places materials on conveyor belts.
Maintains a clean work area to ensure workplace safety.
Cleans, disassembles, repairs and maintains the recycling equipment so that it works properly.
Cuts discarded products (such as appliances and automobiles) into small pieces using saws, blow torches and other hand or power tools, for easier disposal.
May collect recyclable materials from curb sides for delivery to designated facilities.
- 839911 Cement and Concrete Plant Workers
- 839912 Chemical Plant Workers
- 839913 Clay Processing Factory Workers
- 839914 Fabric and Textile Factory Workers
- 839915 Footwear Factory Workers
- 839916 Glass Processing Workers
- 839917 Hide and Skin Processing Workers
- 839918 Recycling Workers
- 839999 Factory Process Workers (not covered elsewhere)
Informal or on-the-job
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Other Factory Process Workers, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 59% of people employed as Recycling Workers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 7 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 42 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.
Recycling Workers work in industries like:
- Electricity, gas, water and waste services
- Wholesale trade
- Health care and social assistance
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Recycling Workers||All Jobs Average|
Around 51% of Recycling Workers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
South Australia has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Recycling Workers is 39 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 15% of the workforce. This is 33 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Recycling Workers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||2.3||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
Formal qualifications are not usually required to work as a Recycling Worker.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Recycling Workers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||0.8||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||44.4||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Factory Process Workers who are reliable, can work independently and are hardworking.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Reading work related information.
39%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Talking to others.
34%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
32%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Looking for ways to help people.
30%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
30%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
29%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Deciding on the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
68%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
55%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
51%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
50%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
44%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
43%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
39%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
38%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
31%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
27%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
26%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
19%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Decide which thing is closer or further away from you, or decide how far away it is.
See details that are far away.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Change when and how fast you move based on how something else is moving.
41%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
41%Speed of limb movement
Quickly move the arms and legs.
39%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
74%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
63%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
63%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
59%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
56%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
55%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
53%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
53%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
52%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
52%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
50%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
48%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
48%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
47%Guiding and directing staff
Guiding and directing staff, including setting and monitoring performance standards.
45%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
45%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
44%Coaching and developing others
Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.
43%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
42%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
42%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
97%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
89%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
87%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
86%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
85%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
80%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
80%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
Talk with people face-to-face.
76%Very hot or cold temperatures
Work in very hot or cold temperatures.
74%Outdoors, under cover
Work outdoors, under cover (e.g., in an open shed).
Work with people in a group or team.
73%In an open vehicle or equipment
Work in an open vehicle (e.g., a tractor).
72%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
72%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
71%Bending or twisting your body
Spend time bending or twisting your body.
71%Walking and running
Spend time walking and running.
71%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
70%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Work to strict deadlines.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 51-9199.01 - Recycling and Reclamation Workers.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.