Study: Boosting NYC Recycling Would Create Thousands of Jobs

December 19, 2016

Environmental Justice, Legislative, Transform Don't Trash NYC, Waste Equity

Clean City Green Jobs report

A new report from NYLPI and the Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition finds that New York City has an opportunity to create thousands of good-paying jobs by raising the city’s low recycling rate and investing in recycling and composting infrastructure.

The study, titled “Clean City, Green Jobs: How Smart Recycling Policies Can Build Our City’s Economy,” compared New York, which recycles or composts just 29% of its trash, to cities with far higher recycling rates. San Francisco, Seattle, San Jose, and Portland, OR recycle or compost as much as 70% of their waste stream and have at least 60% more jobs collecting, processing, and reusing recyclable materials than New York.  Recycling and composting waste creates many more jobs per ton of waste processed than landfilling and incineration.

If New York takes steps to raise its recycling and composting rate to 70%, it could create 3,300 jobs processing those materials. Additional jobs would be created building and upgrading infrastructure to process the recyclable and compostable waste.

To create these jobs, the City must enact policies that increase recycling, encourage recycling-reliant businesses, and invest in recycling and composting infrastructure. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s commercial waste zone policy, which is currently being implemented, can set high goals for commercial recycling and can be structured to attract private-sector investment in necessary infrastructure.

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