Recycling jobs 2
These jobs are as numerous as they are varied, so here are the jobs that best represent the recycling sector in France.
A crucial aspect of the recycling industry, the sale of paper/cardboard always starts with a market scoping phase.
Once information on stock and demand levels is gathered, vendors take a position and negotiate prices with the paper merchants who will buy their wares.
Regularly on the move, they can also prospect new customers, by giving them a chance to judge the quality of the materials recovered directly from recycling facilities, or sending them samples. Lastly, they are responsible for sales follow-up, and ensure that orders placed are managed properly.
Every day, recycling professionals use dozens of different machines which might break down, so teams of mechanics of varying sizes are responsible for maintaining and repairing them.
Ready to work on pieces of equipment as varied as vans, presses, skips, trailers and trucks, they make mechanical, hydraulic or electrical repairs, only delegating the biggest jobs to specialist companies.
Responsible for ensuring that professional recycling factories run smoothly, scheduling managers receive and rank requests to drop off or exchange recycling equipment (bins, skips, etc.) to organise future rounds and optimise each driver’s route.
They do this by limiting journey times between customers, thereby striving to reduce overall diesel consumption. As well as this main role, scheduling managers also supervise drivers’ working hours or vehicle tracking (they also deal with insurance), and analyse the performance indicators generated by the rounds (productivity, consumption, etc.) to make them more efficient still.
A press is a machine designed to package a number of raw materials treated by industrial recycling factories, such as paper/cardboard and plastics.
In practice, press operators produce bales of various sizes – up to 140 per day of differing quality levels – and have to ensure they are even: just one knot in the reels can prevent the bundle produced from holding together. Often having several roles, they might also feed materials belts and do some sorting with a digger.
The last link in the service chain, agency secretaries have to manage invoices for bought-in materials, rent skips placed on the premises of the customers of a recycling company, and make direct sales.
In practice, their work involves inputting purchase orders, interacting with collection services and sales reps, and ensuring that vouchers are consistent with the contracts signed with the various contacts of the company concerned.
In the French recycling sector, boilermakers have to work on the equipment installed in a recycling centre or on the premises of the customers their company works with.
While they often have to carry out maintenance jobs or slight modifications, they also have to make all kinds of metal parts. It is a very technical job which demands impeccable know-how and very detailed knowledge of the machines used.
As the title suggests, this engineer is responsible for supervising the composting process, i.e. blending sludge, biowaste and green waste, managing the aerobic fermentation of waste in tunnels equipped with temperature probes, and its maturation in ventilated cells, and lastly screening, in order to produce the final compost.
It is a demanding and very technical job that requires excellent knowledge of the treated materials and a good command of the tools used, whether digital or otherwise.
Bulky items platform manager
Responsible for supervising the smooth operation of their recycling centre, bulky items platform managers welcome customers who come to drop off their bulky items, check the materials received, help users to empty their vehicles and direct them to the right drop-off point.
They then have to set the right price for the materials customers bring, scrupulously adhering to the prices determined by their company, then, once the user has left, sort and store the materials using various tools, including grabs, grinders and compactors.
Paper sorter operator
These eagle-eyed workers operate after the optical sorting machines have done their work, spotting undesirable products conveyed by the belts – such as corks and bottles – in paper recycling plants, and removing them manually before throwing them down a side chute.
It is physical work – operators stand for 8 hours a day – which demands great concentration and an unfaltering eye, the result of years of experience in the waste sorting and recycling sector.
Plastic materials wash line operator
Responsible for checking shredders, bins and spin washers, they clean machines so that recycled materials are sorted as efficiently as possible. They track the materials from their entry into the shredder to their exit from the spin washer, where the plastic chips are washed and separated.
Having to demonstrate active supervision, the better to avoid the blockages that can interrupt the whole line, wash line operators have to be on their toes and know the sounds their machines make inside out.
As intermediaries between customers and sales reps, assistants process orders, draw up purchase orders, administer customer files, carry out inventories of their recycling company's stocks, register product inflows and outflows, and tailor contracts according to the prices of materials.
They have to perform a series of tasks as varied as they are essential to the smooth running of the agency.
Product and environmental quality manager
The ‘lab assistant’ of the waste recycling and recovery industry, responsible for checking the quality of incoming and outgoing materials. They perform numerous daily tasks, including checking the fluidity, density (mass per unit volume), moisture levels, fill percentages and oxidation of plastics.
To carry out these different tests, quality managers work with various tools: a pile for taking samples, pouches for bagging them up, test tubes, an indexer and a furnace for fill percentages, in order to determine the percentage purity of the material received or sold.
While their main role is to organise the full production cycle and to supervise the steps in the recycling process – from the receipt of waste to the despatch of raw materials – operations managers also have to manage site teams, giving them priorities regarding materials to be packed, site organisation and equipment maintenance.
This makes it a multi-faceted role, which varies according to the size and specialisation of agencies. On a modest site, they may also need to operate a truck to empty recycling skips, manoeuvre a digger to fill containers, or store bales leaving the press.
Equipped with a cutting torch with a flame that can reach 3,100°C, torch cutters operate upstream of the metals sorting line, selecting the bulkiest items – in some cases parts from dismantled bridges, various vehicle chassis, or even construction site shovels – before cutting them up so they can be treated.
This dangerous job, so specific to the recycling industry, requires many years of experience and constant vigilance.
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