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How the Recycling Industry is Creating More Jobs

How the Recycling Industry is Creating More Jobs

With the Paris Agreement in the news recently, it's important to understand what it is and how it can affect the recycling industry; it's an international agreement created to help nations reduce mankind's impact on climate change. Partly due to its influence, the renewable energy industry and the recycling industry in the U.S. are booming through the efforts of government regulations, concerned citizens and eco-conscious organizations alike. This is great news not only for the environment but for the economy as well; the recycling industry, in particular, excels at job creation. Here are the numbers that show how recycling is expanding the job market and some details on what types of jobs are involved.

Statistics

Higher recycling rates mean more jobs, which can lead to higher employment rates. Skeptics may counter that recycling more materials means taking away jobs from landfills, but according to ecocycle.org, recycling means 9-30 times more job creation as opposed to landfilling. Some other statistics about recycling job creation:

  • Recycling jobs are better overall than landfill jobs; there are great benefits and the pay tends to start at $20 per hour
  • America's recycling industry had an annual payroll of $37 billion 
  • America has about 26 different types of businesses related to recycling and more than 50,000 recycling and reuse establishments 

Types of Jobs Created

Some recycling-based jobs are unique to recycling, while others are fairly standard manufacturing jobs. Here are a few types of jobs created by recycling:

Unlike manufacturing processes that start with virgin materials, the recycling process requires some very time-intensive sorting and processing before the materials can be used to create new products. This is the case even if the materials are pre-sorted.

1. Sorting and processing jobs

Unlike manufacturing processes that start with virgin materials, the recycling process requires some very time-intensive sorting and processing before the materials can be used to create new products. This is the case even if the materials are pre-sorted. Sorting materials as they move along a conveyor belt is a bit similar to a mass-production job. Parts of this process are sometimes automated, but there's still a lot of manual labor involved. There are a few types of sorting jobs:

  • Sorting out the non-recyclable materials
  • Sorting all materials by type and grade/quality
  • Monitoring sorting machines for quality control

2. Machine operation and maintenance

Recycling isn't purely a people-powered process; it also requires lots of machine power, and those machines require operators. Some jobs in this area include:

  • Collecting truck operator (one truck and a team drives around town to collect recyclables)
  • Heavy equipment operator (for balers, loaders and other large machinery)
  • Mechanics or maintenance technicians to keep machinery in good working order

3. Managerial and support roles

Facility management personnel may be in charge of budgets, safety procedures, schedules, sales and marketing, acquisition, PR, HR and more. These jobs cover a wide range of skill sets, from marketing to accounting to managing. Larger facilities may hire personnel for each of several roles while smaller operations may require each managerial employee to fill multiple roles.

Contact us at Central Kentucky Fiber Resources, LLC today to learn more about how we help the environment and what we can do for your business.

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