Circular Economy and Recycling Technologies Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Circular Economy and Recycling Technologies?

Recycling is the action or process of converting waste into reusable material. Recycling begins at the end – the ‘get rid’ stage of a product’s lifecycle. The circular economy, however, goes right back to the beginning to prevent waste and pollution from being created in the first place.

In a circular economy, resources do not end up as recyclables since products are made to last several lifecycles. A product’s lifespan is extended via maintenance, repair, redistribution, refurbishment and/or re-manufacture loops, thus they never end up in the low-value, high-need-for-energy loop of recycling.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Circular Economy and Recycling Technologies in the following subject areas:

  • Environmental Science – This wide-ranging course draws together biology, chemistry, Earth science and physics.
  • Introduction to Environmental Awareness – The course will demonstrate to learners the benefits of good environmental management and how employees can make advances in terms of addressing environmental issues.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment – An Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment including process and best practice, practical requirements, the legislative framework and cost-benefit analysis.
  • Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences -BSc in Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences is the foundation year for different degree outlets in the School of Biological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences,
  • Environmental Science In The Field – Gain practical observational, data gathering and analytical skills for studying landforms, soils, water and vegetation.

Studying Intercultural Circular Economy and Recycling Technologies

There are many courses in Circular Economy and Recycling Technologies that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Many environmental organisations and charities need help from people willing to carry out voluntary work. After gaining some initial experience, you may be able to progress into more specialist paid employment. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Circular Economy and Recycling Technologies course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of recycling schemes and waste reduction policies

In this field, you may work in a position that helps to create and deliver educational programmes and organize community, school and media liaison initiatives.

You might work for a local authority such as a county, district, borough or metropolitan council in a relevant department, such as environmental services, waste management or community services.

Alternatively, you could work in the private sector for recycling contractors or environmental charities. Opportunities for environmental science graduates can be found in the environmental science and wider biology sectors. Typical employers include local authorities, environmental protection agencies, government departments, environmental monitoring organizations, environmental consultancies, nature conservation organizations and charitable trusts.

There are also opportunities available in the utility sector with water companies and waste management companies, in planning and surveying, the media, and in environmental education and research.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. You’ll generally work 9 am to 5 pm, with some extra hours and weekend work necessary for special events. Flexible working is often possible in local government departments.

More specific careers in environmental engineering often require a lot of site work and travel, hours can be irregular. You may be expected to stay away from home overnight, or sometimes for longer, perhaps weeks or even months, depending on the project.

Related jobs include:

  • Environmental consultant
  • Environmental education officer
  • Environmental engineer
  • Environmental manager
  • Minerals surveyor
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Recycling officer
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Waste management officer
  • Amenity horticulturist
  • Commercial horticulturist
  • Water quality scientist
  • Environmental health practitioner
  • Horticultural consultant
  • Horticultural therapist
  • Landscape architect
  • Town planner
  • Toxicologist
  • Transport planner
  • Water engineer

Further study

After completing a course in Circular Economy and Recycling Technologies you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Biology, Civil or structural engineering, Earth sciences, Environmental science, Materials science and technology.


What is the difference between Circular economy and recycling?

Recycling involves extracting resources and transforming them into products, then consuming or using them before disposing of them. Recycling only starts at the throwing-away stage while in Circular Economy the emphasis is on preventing waste from being created in the first place.

In a circular economy, resources do not just end up as recyclables since products are made to last several lifecycles allowing resources to be reused again and again and eliminating single-use products that create needless waste.

While recycling is still a waste-reducing strategy to move towards circularity, strategies like reusing, redistributing and/or remanufacturing are the preferred approaches as they are based on parts durability.

Where can I study Circular Economy and Recycling Technologies?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.
  • Cardboard (also known as corrugated) boxes can be recycled at least seven times and can be used to make new packaging boxes and even furniture.
  • Every year, 2.4 million tons of recycled glass is used to make new bottles and jars. Recycling glass is great because it can be recycled endlessly with no loss in quality or purity.
  • Sending waste to landfills is problematic for several reasons, but, most importantly, because doing so creates innumerable environmental and health problems in local communities. For instance, as garbage decomposes, it creates a toxic blend of liquids called leachate, which results in large amounts of pollution both in the air and in local water sources.
  • Aluminium can be recycled forever without any loss of quality. Aluminium cans can actually be recycled and put back onto the shelf at your local grocery store in just about 2 months.

Mariza Halliday

Divinity Courses
Intelligent Systems Courses


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