December 30, 2011
Getting recyclables from waste bins to manufacturers (where they can be reused in new products) requires different types of workers. Drivers collect the recyclables and transport them to a materials recovery facility, which employs sorters, plant managers, technicians, and mechanics. Skilled personnel in support roles, such as sales and logistics, are also essential to the recycling industry.
Several drivers usually work together as a team to collect recyclables. One drives the truck, stopping alongside each recycling bin. At each stop, at least one worker exits the vehicle, grabs the curbside recycling bin, and empties it into the truck. BLS does not have data specifically for drivers of recycling trucks; however, these workers are included in the occupation refuse and recyclable material collectors.
In single-stream recycling systems, many different kinds of recyclables are collected together. Sorters separate the various types of recyclables so they can be processed. These workers are included in the occupation laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand.
To collect recyclables in the most efficient way possible, route managers plan routes and schedules for recycling trucks to follow. Route managers are included in the occupation logisticians.
Companies selling recycling services use sales representatives to sell their services to either an entire municipality or individual consumers. Sales workers also sell recyclables—after they have been sorted and processed—to manufacturers to be used as the raw material in new products.
Wage data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. For more information, see "Careers in Recycling" by Drew Liming, part of a BLS series of Green Career Information articles. Occupational median wage estimates are for the remediation and other waste management services industry group.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Recycling occupations on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2011/ted_20111230.htm (visited December 10, 2016).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Workplace injuries and illnesses and employer costs for workers’ compensation
Workplace injury and illness data and the costs to employers for workers’ compensation in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
A look at the future of the U.S. labor force to 2060
Projected long-term trends in the growth, size, and composition of the labor force.
Union membership in the United States
Historical trends in union membership among employed wage and salary workers; union membership by a variety of demographic characteristics.
A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
Spending on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.
Self-employment in the United States
Trends in self-employment by various demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, including both the unincorporated and the incorporated self-employed, as well as data on paid employees who work for the self-employed.