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Waste Management


The Waste Management sector includes the collection and haulage of domestic, commercial or industrial waste, and also waste recovery and sorting services.  It also includes businesses providing portable toilets, bins and skips for hire.

Sectors in the industry

The waste treatment and disposal services sector includes businesses engaged in operating landfills, combustors, incinerators, compost dumps and other treatment facilities excluding sewage treatment facilities but including waste transfer stations.

Another sector involves the remediation and clean-up of contaminated buildings and mine sites, mine reclamation activities, removal of hazardous material such as asbestos and lead paint.

Employer profile for the industry

In June 2016, there were 4,300 businesses operating in the sector. 2,000 of these businesses were sole operators. 2,200 of these businesses are in the waste collection sector (1,200 employers), 700 are in waste treatment and disposal (400 employers), and 1,400 are in waste remediation and materials recovery (700 employers).

2,000 of these businesses employ less than 20 people. 190 businesses employ 20 to 199 people.  Only 17 businesses employ more than 200 people.

Source: ABS, Counts of Australian Businesses, Jun 2012 to Jun 2016

Typical features of the workforce

  • While 33,000 people currently work in the sector, mainly in waste collection, the Department of Jobs and Small Business projects that the total number of people working in the sector will rise by 13% to 37,500 by November 2020.

Source: Department of Jobs and Small Business, Industry Projections - Five Years to November 2020

  • 84% of employees in this industry work full time. Only 16% of employees work part time.
  • 20% of employees in this sector are female and 80% of employees are male.
  • The workforce is older than the national average (main age group 35-54).
  • The most common level of educational attainment for this industry was Year 10 and 11 (32.5%), followed by Certificate III/IV (27.7%) and below Year 10 (16.9%). Nearly 50% of the workforce have no formal qualifications.

Source: Artibus Innovation

Emerging sectors, future growth

Most of the technological developments in the industry relate to waste disposal. Systems have been developed that biologically treat organic material that would otherwise go into landfill to produce both compost and biogas for the production of electricity.

There have also been developments of new and improved methods of sorting, recovering and recycling waste materials. This includes mechanical and manual recovery of the recyclable materials that ordinarily go into landfill, such as glass and plastic.

Source: Artibus Innovation

Want to look in detail at some related sectors?

Key Occupations

Landfill Operator

Recycling Officer

Resource Recovery Officer

Rubbish Collector

Landfill Rehabilitation Officer



This industry is positioned in the following groups


Property Maintenance & Management

Work Type

Practical & Manual

Analytic & Scientific

Helping & Advising

Organising & Clerical

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Career Pathways

Waste Management has career pathways from Certificate II through to Diploma. Look at the Propert Services Job Pathway Chart to see what is of interest.

Job Pathway Charts

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Further Research


Industry information is published by peak level associations, government and major employers.  Accessing industry association sites, including member lists, is a good way of building up an understanding of an industry.  Visiting employer websites and looking for careers or employment menus helps identify how employers recruit and the skills they are recruiting.

Use Google to search for the associations and organisations listed below.


  • Waste Management Association of Australia
  • Facility Management Association of Australia

Careers Sites