Careers in Recycling: MRF Manager, Route Manager and Tech

Entry Level and Skilled Professionals Needed in Recycling Industry

Echo, Getty Images

This story continues our discussion of how to find jobs from Jobs in Recycling Part 1

Mechanics, Technicians, and Machinery Maintenance Workers

Recycling businesses rely on people to ensure that equipment remains running, whether collection trucks, sorting lines, front end loaders, balers, compactors, shredders or other equipment. Such work is performed by skilled workers including mechanics, technicians, and machinery maintenance workers who inspect and repair trucks, material handling equipment as well as processing equipment within MRFs.

These mechanics and technicians perform a variety of duties involving the inspection, regular scheduled servicing and repair of MRF equipment, recycling trucks and material handling equipment, not to mention responding to breakdowns or other mechanically-related disruptions to production. According to BLS, usually, a high school education or G.E.D. is required, as well as vocational training programs or apprenticeships. Technical qualifications may include millwright, electrician, truck mechanic, welder or other. Such workers will often have vocational training in one of these areas, as well as experience. Experienced mechanics with a broad knowledge of subjects such as electricity, electronics, hydraulics and computer programming are often sought by employers.

Regarding wages, BLS does not have accurate data on wage rates for such workers in the recycling industry. . However, looking at the work that these people perform within the realm of industry at large on industrial mechanics; maintenance work on machinery, bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists, generalizations about wage rates can be made.

For example, the median income for industrial machinery mechanics was $47,280, while machinery maintenance workers had a median income of $41,870. For bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists, the median wage was $38,780. All reported wages are for 2010.

Material Recovery Facility Managers

The job of the material recovery facility manager may involve oversight of some or all aspects of MRF management, including operations, maintenance and site services.

Education may include a business or engineering degree, or a technical background supplemented by business training and experience. According to BLS, duties may include:

  • Overseeing site improvements
  • Submitting budgets
  • Developing long-term goals
  • Sales strategy
  • Public relations
  • Employee performance management
  • Workplace safety and training
  • Preventive maintenance program

In terms of wages, BLS does not have specific data for MRF managers. More generally, however, the median annual wage for general and operations managers in the reme¬diation and other waste management services indus¬try group was $90,790 in May 2010. Of course this may vary by employer as well as by region.

Route Managers

Logistics is an extremely important component of recycling. Eficiency depends in no small measure on route managers who develop routes and schedules for recycling trucks to follow.

According to BLS, duties of route managers may include:

  • Optimizing routes and schedules, using maps and other G.I.S. tools
  • Assign specific trucks and drivers to routes as required
  • Monitor routes, encourage feedback and make changes as necessary
  • Statistics related to time taken on routes and meeting service targets
  • Supervision of truck drivers
  • Driver training

BLS says that the median annual wage for logis¬ticians in the remediation and other waste management services industry group was $67,720 in May 2010.

Sales representatives

Sales representatives or account managers are responsible for account creation and retention. Education often includes a university degree as well as experience in sales or recycling. Interaction may include a combination of in-person, online and phone-based communication.

Duties may include:

  • Understanding the range of the employers’ services such as collection services, sorting and processing
  • Points of contact
  • Problem resolution
  • Communication with respect to service changes or arising problems
  • Sale of recyclable material


With the growth of recycling, more people will be required to service this industry.

While there will be a growing demand at the entry level for unskilled positions such as material sorters, the ever-increasing level of investment in technology suggests that there will be a greater focused on skilled labor in the future. For people considering entry into the industry, as well as those looking to improve