Materials recycler

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.

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

It is possible to work as a materials recycler without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in waste driving operations or a related area.

The Certificate III in Waste Driving Operations is available at Western Australian registered training organisations. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.You can also undertake a waste management (level 3) or waste collection driver (level 3) traineeship.

The traineeships usually take 12 to 24 months to complete.You can also undertake a waste management (level 3) or waste collection driver (level 3) traineeship. The traineeships usually 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 work as a materials recycler in Western Australia, you will need to obtain the appropriate licences from the Department of Transport to drive waste collection 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.