Materials recycler

Also known as:

  • Scrap Materials Buyer

What they do

Materials recyclers collect, sort and repurpose recyclable items from industrial, commercial and private establishments for reuse and resale. They may recycle a range of materials such as cardboard and paper, mattresses, scrap metal and plastics, construction and demolition materials, and electronic waste (e-waste) such as computers and televisions.

Materials recyclers may travel to perform an assessment or evaluation of materials to be recycled, and may offer a collection service. They may buy materials to repurpose and resell, such as bricks for historic buildings, or may recycle materials for manufacture on site.

Specialisations include: Automotive Dismantler, Bottle Dealer

Working conditions

Materials recyclers may work in scrapyards, warehouse facilities or factories where they sort and process items to be recycled. They may sort materials by hand or by machine.

Materials recyclers generally work business hours, but may also work on weekends, depending on the needs of their business. They may use a range of personal protective equipment (PPE), which will vary depending on the specific work being carried out.

Tools and technologies

Materials recyclers may use office equipment to consult with clients and organise collections of recyclable materials. They may also be required to collect payments for materials. They may operate forklifts, trucks, mobile plants, balers or scissor lifts. They may be required to wear safety gloves, glasses and boots, as well as high visibility clothing.

How do I become one?

Education and training

You can work as a materials recycler without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, you can also complete a traineeship.

A waste management traineeship is available, and can be done as a school-based traineeship. You can also do a traineeship as a waste collection driver. These traineeships generally take 12 to 24 months to complete.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

To operate waste collection vehicles in Western Australia, you will need to obtain the appropriate licences to drive these vehicles and operate related machinery. Some employers may require you to hold a medium or heavy rigid licence, depending on the type of vehicle used in their operations. Contact the Department of Transport for more information about these licences.