A Wall Street overhaul might sound like the best way to fix the economy, but according to one report issued at a National Recycling Day event at the U.S. Capitol, it’s higher recycling rates that hold the potential to create millions of jobs and strengthen the economy. Not to mention it would improve public health and reduce pollution; two additional factors that would improve the overall condition of the nation.
This is according to a report titled More Jobs, Less Pollution (pdf link), which outlines how a 75% national recycling rate holds the ability to create millions of jobs.
Aside from the jobs it would create, a 75% national recycling rate would reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 276 million metric tons by 2030, equivalent to taking 50 million cars off the road. It would also reduce toxic emissions that impact human and ecosystem health, creating a stronger economy with a broader employment base.
“Never in our lifetime has it been more important to merge environmental progress with jobs,” said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The country is underachieving when it comes to recycling and we hear about high unemployment rates every day. This report raises hope. It confirms that organized labor and environmentalists can join together and reminds us that recycling still holds great potential to heal the planet in an ecologically and economically productive way. We want to 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.”
I am so grateful that my city has an easily accessible recycling program started by a group of Gen-Y’ers. What’s recycling like in your town? Could it use a more accessible format, or has it developed into a reputable part of the economy?