New Study from GAIA Reveals Recycling Facilities can create jobs and boost economies

E&E News reported recycling and reuse facilities can create new job opportunities and boost economies around the world, according to a study from the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). The study found that recycling creates more than 50 times as many job opportunities as landfills or incinerator plants. Recycling plants utilize labor and technology to sort waste from soil, dust, or organics from materials that can be repurposed into new items. The study details how recycling plants can help create more jobs in model cities around the world:

“The results show that recycling, remanufacturing, and composting alone can create thousands of new jobs across the model cities. Job growth in the high recovery rate scenario is particularly dramatic in cities with low current recycling rates and where the semi-mechanized recycling figure is used. The results further vary based on the total amount of waste collected by each city. Cities with lower collection rates could see even greater job gains as municipal waste services are expanded. And while a transition to the high recovery rate scenario would lead to fewer jobs in landfill and incineration, the analysis shows that anywhere from 10-60 jobs in composting, recycling, and remanufacturing are created for every job lost in disposal.”

The study reveals that a transition from traditional waste centers to an increase in recycling facilities would create more job opportunities in the recycling, composting, and remanufacturing sectors. To note, repair jobs could create 200 times as many jobs as would be provided by landfills or incinerators while remanufacturing jobs could create almost 30 times as many jobs as landfills and incinerators. “Zero waste systems” as the study calls it, have massive potential to improve economies around the world. The processes of remanufacturing and composting promote minimal waste and help repurpose materials for other important uses. Speaking of the benefits of these types of jobs, science and policy director at GAIA Dr. Neil Tangri said:

“With the world still reeling from the pandemic, job creation is a top priority. Zero waste offers a strategy to create good jobs and reduce pollution, without breaking the bank. It’s a triple win for the economy, the environment, and the city.”

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