Being a garbo used to be the worst job. Now garbos have much more status. There are jobs at every level and the range of jobs is set to increase as new technologies emerge.
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These resources and ideas can help you to develop skills for a career saving the planet:
Not for profit/charities/social enterprise
Excellent for volunteering opportunities, and entrepreneurial aspirations and can lead to jobs in other waste organisations.
These are some examples:
- Plastic Free July Foundation
- Keep Australia Beautiful Council WA – Adopt-a-Spot Program or Community Clean Up
- Tangaroa Blue Foundation – beach clean-ups.
- Repair Labs /Repair Cafes -people can volunteer to repair items for other people to avoid items being thrown away,
- FairGame – youth charity donating gently used sports equipment to kids in need.
- GiveWrite – youth charity donating new/near new stationery to kids in need.
- Dismantle – youth charity giving troubled youth and old bicycles a new life through their mentoring programs.
- Hello Initiative – reusing old mobile phones with kids in the juvenile justice system.
- Charities and op shops – reusing unwanted clothes and bric-a-brac to support the circular economy and those in need. Always looking for volunteers to help in the store.
Food waste avoidance
- FEAST school-based program for Yr 5-6 students. STEM-based, and focused on food preparation skills.
- OzHarvest Perth – volunteer food packer, driver, etc. Variety of roles, paid and unpaid.
- Secondbite – variety of roles designed to avoid food waste and address food security, paid and unpaid.
- Foodbank WA – variety of roles addressing food security and food waste – paid and unpaid.
- RichGro – diverting organic waste from landfill by turning it into quality compost.
- Community gardens – examples include Earthwise in Subiaco, St Luke’s in Mosman Park and North Fremantle Social Farm. Learn how to grow your own food, live sustainably and get to know your local community.
these are some people I know who have converted their passion for waste management into a business
- WRITE Solutions – environmentally sustainable business expertise
- Sustainable Salons – low-waste hairdressing
- Donut Waste – business collecting and recycling beer clips and coffee grinds
- Treading my own path – blogger, influencer promoting sustainable, low waste living
- Lessen with Peg – learning how to compost and live with less waste
Supporting initiatives (only a handful mentioned here):
- Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment & Water – see Recycling Modernisation Fund investing $800 million into new recycling initiatives and markets
- Australian Renewable Energy Agency – see Kwinana Waste to Energy Project
- Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment – National Plastics Plan 2021
- Department of Water and Environment Regulation (DWER) – have a graduate program called Choose your Environment. The Waste Authority also sits within DWER, running the Be a GREAT Sort community campaign and the WasteSorted Schools Program
- Western Australia Return Recycle Renew (WARRR) – set up Containers for Change recycling program in WA. Has been a great social enterprise initiative and employer for people with disabilities.
Jobs on offer are both operational and administrative.
- Operational jobs involve skills in hauling, sorting, managing waste safely, efficiently and effectively. Operational jobs include Drivers, Labourers, Multi-System Operators, Recycling Centre Attendants, Depot Managers, Operations Managers, Recycling Sorters.
- Administrative roles involve skills in community education, marketing, communications, social media, website management, accounts, governance and project management. Administrative roles are often advertised as: Waste Education Officer, Marketing & Communications Officer, Project Officer, Community Education Officer, Waste Projects Coordinator, Waste Minimisation Officer, Sustainability and Environment Officer, Bin-Taggers. Depending on the role, administrative jobs might require a Bachelor Degree in Sustainability, Health Promotion, Marketing, Community Development, Finance, Accounting, Commerce, etc.
- WA Local Government Association – Click here to see their current projects and programs in waste and the environment. Also worth subscribing to their fortnightly waste e-newsletter WasteNet and their environment and climate change newsletter EnviroNews. Rebecca Brown is the Manager, of Waste, Recycling & Environment.
- Regional Councils & Local Councils – big employers in municipal waste collection and community waste education and sustainability, giving voice to community concerns and providing feedback to WALGA and State Government to inform policy.
- Waste management/recovery
- East Rockingham Waste to Energy plant – landfill sites are closing in WA. Residual waste that cannot be recycled will go to waste to energy plants to generate electricity. The plant is due to open by the end of 2022 and will generate new jobs.
- Avertas Energy – another waste-to-energy plant in Kwinana is due to open soon and will also generate new jobs.
- Veolia – international waste and energy company. Find out more about their graduate program on their career page. Great if you fancy travelling interstate and overseas too.
- Cleanaway – international waste and energy recovery company. Also have a careers program and 31 jobs in WA available at the moment.
- SUEZ – international waste and energy company bought out by Veolia. They also have a careers program.
- Remondis – see their careers page for the types of jobs they offer
- Total Green Recycling – electronic waste recycling. They have a workplace learning program for school students
- CLAW Environmental – polystyrene and plastic recyclers
- Ecocycle – battery and mercury recyclers
Thanks to Hazel Hodgkins for all of the information for this post.