These jobs are as numerous as they are varied, so here are the jobs that best represent the recycling sector in France.
Key players in the treatment of waste managed by recycling companies, multi-vehicle drivers operate the various vehicles needed to feed the sorting lines.
Loaders, grabs, lift trucks: there is a wide range of sophisticated working tools, but the driver’s responsibilities are not confined to operating them. They must also ensure that the line is fed as smoothly and evenly as possible. In the event of a materials jam, they are also responsible for inspecting and cleaning the sorting belt.
Operating both the shovel and the loader of the vehicle they operate, crane operators feed the sorting line and the waste recycling line with the contents of skip trucks. They also collect the materials rejected by machines (e.g. overly bulky pieces of wood, iron or concrete) and regulate the flow of waste by adjusting to the speed of belts and sorters.
This is a job that demands dexterity as much as speed of execution, because crane operators only have around ten minutes to unload a truck carrying 7 to 20 cubic metres of waste.
Hazardous waste transporter
These drivers are responsible for safely removing the most hazardous materials – including toxic, explosive or flammable waste – from their customers’ sites.
It is a job that cannot be performed without one month of prior training in handling harmful loads and the applicable regulations. Given the transparency and traceability obligations involved, these drivers also have to identify, check and meticulously label the containers they handle, before taking them to a specialist or a recycling firm.
Scrap paper lift truck operator
Another key link in the recycling chain, lift truck operators take delivery of, store, move, load and unload cardboard and scrap paper.
In truth, the nature of their work depends on the sub-family they belong to. Some lift truck operators, driving fork or claw loaders, only unload semi-trailers, while others have to put bales of materials into trucks or containers, ensuring that any impurities have been properly removed. They all use PDA-type devices to perform these quality controls.
You will find no fewer than eight families of products on the belts of battery recycling facilities.
Salt water, lithium-ion and nickel metal hydride batteries: battery sorters have to identify all the models that pass beneath their eyes, separate them manually and then place them in the different bins located near their workstations. It is complex work that often demands months of training.
Household waste skip driver
Recovery levels from household waste collection and recycling depend on how effective the collections are.
Accompanied by one or two refuse collectors (workers whose role is to unload waste from a truck or a wagon), household waste skip drivers who work for local authorities collect household waste and selective recycling containers, in addition to bulky items or green waste depending on the collection day and zone. With their two colleagues, they can collect up to 20 tonnes of waste in one round.
Weighbridge operator is another recycling-specific job: it is the employee who greets customers and suppliers, weighs goods on the weighbridge and inputs the associated data in order to draw up the outgoing merchandise slips and delivery notes.
They also inform customers of the prices of the different types of materials provided, and then perform the associated administrative and accounting tasks.
Scrap vehicle dismantler
In a vehicle, almost everything can be recycled. So, after completely decontaminating the cars they receive (hanging them to drain off the fluids), dismantlers manually remove the battery, wheels, filters, dashboard, floor, windscreens, windows and plastics (bumpers, etc.).
The collected parts are sent to a recycling factory, while the scrap vehicle frame is compressed into a block of steel and sold on to a foundry.
Crane operator-scrap metal cutter
In a recycling factory, a crane operator-scrap metal cutter unloads the collected scrap metal, pre-sorts it, cuts up the bulkiest items with a crawler excavator and helps to dispatch recycled materials by loading them on to a train with an 80-tonne plus crane, equipped with a 22-metre arm.
This job requires patience, experience and dexterity, because the loaded or unloaded scrap metal can damage the semi-trailers used to collect it.
Selective collection sorter
An essential cog in the professional household waste recycling system, the quality of outgoing materials depends on selective collection sorters.
Standing in an air-conditioned cabin dressed in a safety outfit, they manually remove undesirable waste (recyclable or otherwise) from the flow to recover materials with certain characteristics (up to 60 tonnes per day). They separate waste by dropping it into the chutes positioned around them.
From tractor units to semi-trailers, and from shear presses to sorting and waste recycling lines, maintenance managers have a broad knowledge of the production tools in use at recycling facilities.
Accompanied by teams of mechanics, their role is to keep this equipment in good working order and to make rapid repairs, to keep productivity rates high on their sites. But as well as these technical services, they also have to manage commercial negotiations when buying new parts, keep check sheets updated, and maintain building infrastructure.
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