Guide About Waste Management Jobs

What Do Waste Management Specialists Do

All of us know that waste management professionals don’t just collect scraps from the fringes of society. What do they do? According to career education site, “Waste management officers are responsible for overseeing and coordinating waste disposal, refuse collection and recycling activities in an efficient and environmentally-friendly manner.” But that only scratches the surface of the function of waste management. Read About Guide About Waste Management Jobs below.

Were you aware, for example, that you generate a lot of garbage? According to Waste Management, a private waste management company, the average American will dispose of 600 times as much garbage in a lifetime. Waste management specialists are responsible for managing trash.

It’s wrong to think of what waste management professionals do as trash haulers. They do much more than just transport junk to a central dumping site. It’s far from the truth. Waste management professionals play a crucial role in recycling and reuse efforts. This role was amplified in the EPA’s Resource Conservation Challenge, which launched in 2000. This includes a goal to recycle 35 percent of the approximately 300 million pounds of municipal solid refuse (e.g. paper, glass, rubber, and wood) that is generated each year by individuals and organisations.

Waste management specialists need to be able to handle hazardous wastes. General waste is not considered particularly dangerous by inexperienced people. It’s not just industrial sources that can produce toxic byproducts. According to the EPA, less than 40% of electronic waste is recycled each year. Many electronic items are made from hazardous materials. A waste management specialist is responsible for ensuring that such waste is properly managed and more of it gets recycled.

Career Options and Becoming a Specialist in Waste Management

It might surprise you to know that there are many careers in waste management. High-qualified and credentialed candidates don’t have to be afraid of being relegated to waste collection or another similar job. If you are interested in waste management, there are many consulting and managerial positions available. Others include the roles of personnel manager, industrial hazardous material manager, compost processing manager, facilities manager, educational outreach manager, sales manager, among others. The responsibilities and opportunities available to waste management specialists are numerous.

These positions require certain prerequisites. Villanova University says that a bachelor’s degree is recommended for those who want to start in engineering or environmental sciences. A master’s degree in environmental science or engineering is recommended for workers who want to move up to management positions. The university also recommends that waste managers understand local laws and ordinances. We hope that we have made clear the fact that waste management is challenging, technical and rewarding.

Common Duties & Daily Operations for Waste Management Professionals

It is difficult to describe the daily tasks and duties of a waste management professional. Why is this? Because the field can interact with many other fields. A waste management professional may have to manage:

The development of hazardous and contaminated waste disposal methods. The job of waste management professionals is more than just to facilitate the disposal of different types of materials. They also need to develop rules that ensure this happens in a safe, efficient way. Waste professionals also ensure compliance with local and Federal statutes.

Develop storage protocols for hazardous substances. Some potentially hazardous substances do not need to be removed from an organization’s premises. These compounds must be kept on-site in industries like technology and pharmaceuticals. It is the duty of waste management professionals to ensure that this happens.

Design of recycling programs. Although this task could be sub-set, it is a distinct one. Many municipalities have made it a goal to reduce landfill usage. Recycling is an independent undertaking.

Administration of waste facilities. Waste professionals are responsible for ensuring that equipment and plants run smoothly, from overseeing sanitation facilities and public works to coordination of waste collection and disposal.

Staff management. Many waste management professionals are responsible for ensuring that their subordinates perform well.

Marketing outreach. The work of waste professionals doesn’t stop at industrial and residential byproducts. They communicate with their companies and/or government departments about what they are doing. This is especially important for legal compliance and public health matters.

It is important to work with budgetary and accounting milestones. It doesn’t matter what type of waste management is used, all must comply with fiscal requirements to be sustainable. The waste management business analysts and other professionals in the field ensure that all fiscal metrics are met.

Third-party sellers of waste materials. When it comes to waste management, the old saying “One man’s trash can be another man’s treasure” is twice true. One of the main ways waste management professionals deal in byproducts is to sell them to others who could use them.

Waste management is a serious business.

People may be curious as to why you would want to work in such a “complicated” field. You’ve probably seen the answer on the backsof septic trucks: It smells like money! Indeed, many waste management professionals earn high-paying jobs in an early stage of their careers. According to, the median wage for a waste management manager was $109,037 in November 2020. Statista estimates that solid waste management industry revenues will reach $530 billion by 2025. To serve different segments of the industry, entrepreneurs are also starting businesses.

This is not the only reason to choose this career path. It’s a highly technical and fast-growing field that is also very rewarding professionally. The satisfaction of implementing environmental manager training in everyday work life is as satisfying as the learning experience.

Sometimes, the satisfaction that a challenge brings is more about its social impact. The EPA statistics show that each person generates 4.9 pounds of waste per day. This equates to 292.4 million tons annually. Only 69 million tons of that get recycled, and 25 million tons are composted. People choose to be waste managers because they want to help the environment.

Finally, the jobs of waste management professionals are beneficial to humanity in general. Unmanaged trash poses a risk to the environment and health. It can also cause harm to people and be a problem for generations. Waste management professionals can help people around the globe by using best practices.

Importance and Usefulness of a Waste Management Policy

The statistics that we have shared thus far might not be enough to convince you. It’s not surprising that toxic and trash materials are having a negative effect on the environment and human lives. This can lead to an even greater impact.

Water contamination

Air pollution

Contamination of the soil

Reproductive issues

Respiratory syndromes

Juvenile development issues

Premature wildlife death

Multiplication of pests

These side effects do not have to happen. The best part about professional waste management is that it can be managed.

The National Registry of Environmental Professionals (r)(r), or NREPSM, has been helping environmental and safety professionals to get appropriate accreditation that demonstrates their knowledge in their field for more than 25 years. NREPSM, the largest non-profit accrediting body in its field is recognized by the United States Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Get your Certified Waste Management Professional certification to become one of more than 15,000 NREPSM professionals.

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By Cary Grant

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