We often think of recycling as the right thing to do to protect the environment, and that’s very true. But did you also know that the process of recycling paper, bottles, and cans is a powerful work engine creating steady, year-round, local jobs for residents in urban and suburban communities?
A major study conducted by the Tellus Institute two years ago found that by increasing the national recycling rate from 33 percent to 75 percent we could create 1.5 million new jobs in the U.S. Reports published in recent weeks note that individual states, taking their lead from California, are creating tens of thousands of jobs by recycling more of their waste.
A Minnesota study reports that recycling supports 37,000 jobs in the northern state. Environmental Protection Agency statistics show 32,000 people in Florida work in recycling. Another report states recycling employs 85,000 people in California.
The Tellus study, titled “More jobs, less pollution: growing the recycling economy in the U.S.,” reported that waste disposal generates a meager 0.1 jobs per 1,000 tons landfilled, but processing recyclables generates 2 jobs per 1,000 tons diverted from landfill disposal.
Economists tell us that creating jobs has a multiplier effect that benefits the greater economy. That makes sense as people with steady jobs are able to pay their bills, buy food for the table, and put money back into the local economy.
So let’s all put a little thought into what we are throwing out, toss a lot less into our trash bins, and recycle and compost as many of our discards as possible. Doing so will help sustain and create a lot of new jobs and help protect the environment, both things that improve lives.
Learn more about recycling and composting: www.recology.com