Preserving the Environment

The Eco-Friendly Action That Improves the Economy

March 17, 2014
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The Eco-Friendly Action That Improves the Economy
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Recycling's not just good for the planet, it can stimulate job growth, too.

Recycling has tons of benefits, from reducing the amount of trash sent to landfills to decreasing pollution. But if you need another reason to keep on recycling those cans, bottles and newspapers, here’s another incentive: You’re creating jobs.

As the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports, California is a shining example of how recycling is actually doing its part in stimulating the economy. The state is currently trying to reach a recycling goal of 75 percent by 2020, and if it does, 110,000 jobs could be created, according to a study from the Tellus Institute, a non-profit research company. (If you think 75 percent recycling sounds unrealistic, California was already at 50 percent way back in 2011, which puts the state comfortably on track to hit its goal.)

MORE: The Eco-Friendly Plan to Quench Central California’s Thirst

So why would recycling create more jobs? According to the NRDC report, “meeting the 75 percent recycling goal would create more than 34,000 jobs in materials collection, 26,000 jobs in materials processing, and 56,000 jobs in manufacturing using the recovered materials.” Additionally, the report states that these 110,000 jobs would create another 38,600 jobs indirectly — such as recycling-related businesses. The purchasing power of all these new green workers is also certainly going to boost the economy and spur job growth even more.

Just imagine what would happen if the whole country took a page from California and increased recycling on a national scale. A different Tellus report from 2011 actually crunched those numbers, and their findings are just as encouraging. Apparently, if the entire country recycled at a rate of 75 percent by the year 2030, we could reduce greenhouse gases by 515 million metric tons, which is the same as “shutting down about 72 coal-fired power plants or taking 50 million cars off the road,” the NRDC writes. Now that’s a huge incentive to go reduce, reuse and yes, recycle.

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