Recycler/Dismantler Kaihangarua/Kaiwetewete

Recyclers/dismantlers take apart, separate, sort and sell materials to be recycled or reused.

Recyclers and dismantlers may do some or all of the following:

  • buy and sort materials such as paper, plastics, glass or green waste for processing
  • collect and dispose of solid and hazardous waste
  • operate forklifts to load or unload materials
  • assess vehicles to buy or buildings to deconstruct 
  • remove all saleable parts from vehicles and buildings 
  • sell vehicle parts for reuse and remnants for scrap metal
  • sell salvaged building materials.  

Physical Requirements

Recyclers/dismantlers need to be reasonably fit and strong as they have to lift heavy objects.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for recyclers/dismantlers includes:

  • volunteer work at a community recycling centre
  • repairing cars as a hobby
  • forklift and loader driving
  • factory or warehouse work.

Personal Qualities

Recyclers/dismantlers need to be:

  • motivated
  • efficient
  • adaptable
  • reliable and punctual.


Recyclers/dismantlers need to have knowledge of: 

  • sorting and grading requirements for different materials
  • safety procedures and lifting techniques
  • the value of scrap metal, wood, fixtures, car parts and recyclable materials
  • using workshop tools and dismantling vehicles and buildings into usable parts quickly and carefully.

Some recyclers/dismantlers need to be able to drive heavy vehicles such as trucks, or operate heavy machinery such as forklifts.



  • work regular business hours or longer, and may work weekends
  • work indoors and outdoors at recycling depots, garages, workshops, and car-wrecking and demolition yards
  • may work in noisy and dirty conditions.

Recycler/Dismantlers can earn around $23-$25 per hour.

Pay for recyclers/dismantlers varies depending on skills and experience.

  • New recyclers/dismantlers usually start on the minimum wage or a little more.
  • Experienced recyclers/dismantlers can earn up to $25 an hour.
  • Recyclers/dismantlers with managerial experience or who run their own business can earn more than this.

Sources: Reclaim, 2020; and Hazara Auto Recyclers, 2020.

Recyclers/dismantlers may progress to set up their own business, or move into supervisor roles.  

Recyclers may specialise in recycling a certain type of material such as metal, plastic or glass.

Automotive dismantlers often specialise in dismantling certain types of vehicles such as trucks, four-wheel drives or Japanese cars.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become a recycler/dismantler as you gain skills on the job.

However, some employers prefer to hire recyclers/dismantlers who have or are working towards a qualification in zero waste and resource recovery, scrap metal recycling, composting or solid waste disposal. Revised resource recovery qualifications are currently being developed by industry training organisation MITO.

A driver's licence, heavy vehicle licence, or forklift (F) endorsement on your driver's licence is also useful.