Can the waste management industry have a major impact on our environmental and unemployment issues? In a nutshell, the answer is yes. If the numbers crunched in 2019 by John Dunham and Associates on behalf of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) are anywhere close to being accurate, then the industry is well on its way to be a top employer and earner in the country.
The total number of employees, 531,500, breaks down to those directly and indirectly supported by the recycling industry. The industry directly supports 164,154 people in brokerage and recycling operations in the country. It indirectly supports 367,356 people who are suppliers and impact expenditures through other sectors like construction workers, restaurant employees, teachers, etc.
The economic impact of $110 billion equates the industry with other successful industries like building services, television and radio broadcasting and warehouse storage. This total includes about $12.9 billion in state, local and federal tax revenues.
According to Joe Pickard
Joe Pickard is the chief economist for the ISRI and claims that the recycling industry powers the country’s manufacturing base by generating tax revenue, creating jobs, and providing feedstock for new products. About 70 percent of this feedstock is used by American manufacturers, which is an impact on employment in other sectors and contributes to the country’s need for sustainability. New technologies are expected to keep the trend moving upward.
Since recycling is based on supply and demand and current fluctuations in the global markets reflect a need for superior scrap, the scrap recycling industry in this country is strong and resilient. These forces point to an ability to adapt and to maintain a strong workforce.
A Promising Future
If the scrap recycling industry can address the current problems with the way the country recycles, then it could revolutionize the way we all live and see life. The way that Americans recycle today and the fact that so many businesses do not take advantage of simple beneficial practices is defeating the purpose of recycling at all.
According to the Container Recycling Institute, nearly 50 percent of the country’s recycling is rendered useless due to improper recycling practices by the participants of the various programs run by individual municipalities. If 70 percent of what the industry now successfully processes is used by American manufacturers, then imagine what could be used if the useless half of recycled items were properly processed. Imagine the jobs that could be created and the increase in the country’s ability to be self-sustaining.
If the country takes advantage of the possibilities set before it in the present, then the future could provide immense economic and environmental prosperity.
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