Jobs & Zero Waste

What is Zero Waste?
Zero waste means aiming to reduce what we trash in landfills and incinerators to zero. Industries that reduce, reuse and recycle offer a means to simultaneously address two critical issues of our time: creating living wage employment, and stopping climate change.

Zero waste is one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective strategies we can use to protect the climate and to strengthen local economies.

Key facts
Industries using recycled materials already provide more than 1.1 million U.S. jobs. (U.S. EPA)

In California, recycling accounts for 85,000 jobs and generates $4 billion in salaries and wages. (California Integrated Waste Mgmt. Board)

What can we do?
We must provide policy incentives that create and sustain locally-based reuse, recycling, and composting jobs. Incentives should be directed to revitalize local economies rather than trash valuable natural resources.

No more landfills!
Landfills are the largest source of human produced methane emissions in the U.S.

No more incinerators! Incinerators emit more CO2 per megawatt-hour than coal-fired, natural-gas-fired, or oil-fired power plants.

Compost! Composting biodegradable materials such as food scraps and yard trimmings is critical to protecting our climate and restoring the health of our soils.

Reuse & Recycle! We need to expand efforts to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost what we throw away. We also need to require that products are made to be nontoxic, reusable, repairable, recyclable and/or compostable.

These approaches have been proven to create green jobs, bring positive economic development, and contribute to protecting our environment.

For more information:

Green Worker Cooperatives

Cleaning Up-Environmentally and Economically, Recycling Makes Sense

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

U.S. Recycling Economic Information Project from the U.S. EPA

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