A new report released today by a coalition of labor and environmental groups estimates that recycling 75 percent of the nation's municipal waste, in combination with incentives for manufacturers to use recycled raw materials, will create nearly 1.5 million desperately needed new jobs by 2030.
The report, More Jobs, Less Pollution, also estimates that by using a much higher level of recycled materials in manufacturing plants, we can reduce global warming pollution by as much as 276 million metric tons by 2030, an amount equal to eliminating the emissions of approximately 72 coal-fired power plants or taking 50 million cars off the road.
The report was prepared by the Tellus Institute for the Blue Green Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental organizations that includes the Natural Resources Defense Council, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union, Recycling Works! and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).
Never in our lifetime has it been more important to merge environmental progress with jobs.
The country is underachieving when it comes to recycling and our nation suffers the effects of historically high unemployment rates every day.
This report raises our hopes. It confirms that organized labor and environmentalists can join together in behalf of ecological progress and jobs production, and it reminds us that recycling, the most popular environmental activity, still holds great potential to heal the planet in an ecologically and economically productive way.
This report can help educate and encourage policy makers at all levels of government about what they can do to create a more robust recycling system for our planet and our economy.
Most of the materials in the municipal waste stream are recyclable or compostable or are non-combustible. We know that recycling is the best ecological and economic route for about 80% of the materials in the waste stream. But we lack the policies to get those materials recycled.