Recycling Collector

South Africa is fast running out of landfill capacity to manage its 54 million tons of waste generated annually. Despite various recycling initiatives over the past 2 decades, only 7.5% of South Africans recycle domestic waste. Improved recycling opportunities not only reduces the demand for landfill sites, but also minimises environmental impact and decreases the unsustainable need for materials. Recycling collection is key to supporting increased recycling, repurposing and reuse.

Recycling collectors collect household, commercial and industrial waste for recycling and reuse. They collect recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, glass, metal and electronic waste, for example. Some informal recycling collectors manually collect materials for sale to bigger recycling companies. Formal recycling companies collect waste at designated points and process these materials in recycling plants.

Recycling collectors work in varied spaces, following established routes through residential streets, business and industrial spaces. They can work long hours and be exposed to dangerous materials.

Skills

Recycling collectors require a good understanding of the type of materials that can be recycled. They will additionally benefit from:

  • Good navigation of street and city areas
  • Physical stamina and strength 
  • Extremely safety conscious

Tasks

Collect and load recycling materials into collection bins or vehicles

Return empty recycling bins

Manually sort recycling materials into appropriate categories

Offload recycling materials at formal collection sites

Studies

No formal qualification is required; however, training is attained on the job amongst other experienced collectors. 

Employers

Recycling centres.

Waste management companies. 

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