GRN Recycle Talk FAQ

Date: Wed Dec 04 1996 - 09:12:00 EST

Date: Wed, 4 Dec 96 14:12 WET
Subject: Re: Recycling jobs

December 4, 1996

Dear X:

There are varying estimates of the numbers of jobs that recycling has created. One important thing that economists like to note is are other jobs taken out of the economy because the activity at hand is putting jobs into the economy? The answer in recycling is almost a universal No.
How many jobs?
 Millions of new jobs says the WorldWatch Institute.
 40,000 recycling jobs in California in 1994 says the Californians Against Waste Foundation, up from 14,000 in 1991 .
 30,000 people are employed in recycling aluminum in the US says Alcoa
 103,000 individuals, representing 2.7% of the manufacturing jobs in the region are employed in recyclable processing in the 10-state northeast U.S. area says Waste Minimization and Recycling Report in 1995.
 100,000 jobs in the Northeast says the Northeast Recycling Council in 1994.

I should say that I believe that each estimate is flawed by some degree of secondary employment undercount. I ve managed to a poke a whole, usually a medium sized one, in each study that I ve seen that detailed its methodology, and usually come up with a figure 3-10% higher.
Considered in a large context of environmental protection and economic cycles, some of the best work that I ve seen is put out by the Economic Policy Institute, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036, particuarly a paper Jobs and the Environment: The Myth of a National Trade-Of by E. B. Goodstein. The longer-impacting question of is it jobs vs. the environment or jobs and the environment vs. certain economists that national policy should use as its methodological basis? This paper goes into some of this.
The best thing to do methodologically to get a direct answer to your question is to quiz the Recycling Market Development Specialist in each state (which is what the Northeast Recycling Council did to obtain its figure for the Northeast) and then look at what isn t being counted one vs. another, until you arrive at a matrix of what ought to be counted; then conduct a formal survey of the same people.

The Research Library for RCRA has a great many documents supporting these and other claims. Send an E-Mail request for some of it AND BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS BY THE OLD POST OFFICE METHOD). Our E-mail is FRIEDMAN.FRED@EPAMAIL.EPA.GOV

I hope that this helps.

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