← Back to Careers

Research Specialist

Location: Anywhere within the United States

Reports to: Director of Community Engagement

As a member of the Community Engagement Team (CET), the Research Specialist is in a critical position within the Recycling Partnership. You will work closely with the Data and Analytics team. The research you perform will improve our understanding of the landscape of residential programs in the US and help guide The Recycling Partnership’s interventions and resources. Strong communication, synthesizing confusing or abstract information into standard categories, organized database management, and problem solving is critical to the success of this role. Your work, as Research Specialist, will form the basis of data and analysis that guides the organization to meet short and long term goals.

For this position, it is important to have experience supporting the development and implementation of a research methodology and executing research through interpersonal communication/interviews to gather a combination of qualitative and quantitative information. This position should have a strong understanding of municipal program management. As Research Specialist, your focus will be on state and regional recycling systems and you will be a part of the project team that continues the updating of The Recycling Partnership’s national recycling database.


We’re inclusive, so be yourself! We celebrate and support the differences that makes each of us unique and appreciate the culture-add that each new employee brings to our organization. Since the Community Engagement team works across communities, stakeholders and team members, this job will be well suited to you if you: 

  • Are a problem solver. You have excellent project management skills 
  • Are a good listener. You have the ability to actively listen to stakeholders and communities and communicate as an honest broker of information. 
  • A storyteller. You can capture and extract trends from data to tell a story 
  • Are data-driven with strong database management skills 
  • Are a relationship buider. You can connect and build a network 
  • Are intellectually curious. You enjoy continued professional and personal growth 
  • Have solid research skills with the ability to conduct your research as a member of a team or as an individual 

WHAT WE WILL TRUST YOU WITH – and how you will use your strengths.


  • Lead and assist the Community Engagement Team with special project research. 
  • Research is initially focused on statewide or regional recycling systems, program changes, and materials accepted, but will also expand to national data on commodity generation and recovery, and local data on curbside program participation and other aspects of recycling program performance. 
  • Work closely with contractors and team members to oversee city research tracking recycling program data via an online database and maintaining dashboards used throughout the organization. 


  • Work hand-in-hand with Partnership staff, other stakeholders, or independently to conduct additional research
  • Collaborate on projects that drive best management practices to generate more, better recycled materials and help improve recycling systems nationwide.

AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE & EXPERTISE – things that matter most for this role 

  • Understanding of recycling program operations. The Recycling Partnership focuses on programs that collect traditional recyclables such as bottles, cans, paper, and containers as material in growing access streams. 
  • Understanding of MRF and local government relationships 
  • Understandstanding of recycling collection and operations, recycling program cost centers, program budget development, and recycling outreach/behavior change/messaging BMP’s 
  • Strong database management skills (e.g. excel, online database, etc), 
  • PowerPoint knowledge to build and create exciting presentations for conferences and workshops. 
  • Solid time management, prioritization skills 
  • A desire to grow in an organization 
  • Personal alignment with our Core Values 
  • 4-year degree or equivalent work experience. 
  • Minimum of 2+ years of research experience required; recycling-specific experience preferred. 


The Recycling Partnership is a rapidly growing, action-focused nonprofit, overhauling the U.S recycling system and activating a circular economy for packaging. We work on the ground with thousands of communities to transform underperforming recycling programs and tackle circular economy challenges. We work with companies to make their packaging more circular and help them meet their climate and sustainability goals. And we work with government to develop the policy solutions that will address the systemic needs of our residential recycling system.


We are actively committed to our Core Values and what they stand for: Act with Intention & Integrity; Embrace Change & Drive Action; Partnership is Part of Our Name for a Reason, Play Well with Others; Pursue Growth and Learning; Have Fun; Be your Whole Self, Take Time to Reflect and Dream and finally Stand Up and Speak out for Equity and Inclusion. 

We have a fast-paced culture of innovation, compassion, integrity, and continual learning that does not just exist, but is continuously cultivated so that we always remain employee-focused.