Smart Health Talk

America Recycles Day Reminds Us of Recycling Industry Job Potential and True Value of Trash

America Recycles Day reminds us that if we could increase the amount of recycled materials from 35% of total trash to 75% we could create 1.5 million jobs that would pay around $50,000 a year. Recycling jobs produce more jobs than they displace, and inspire brand new industries to be created.


San Bernardino, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/15/2012 -- America Recycles Day reminds us just how valuable trash is and forces us to question any logic for dumping or burning something with such a huge financial return potential. Today, November 15th, 2012, the 15th Anniversary for has never brought a more important message to the country.

Recycling means business and jobs, well paying jobs like the kind you can support a family and a better life with. Just one catch, it involves everyone in the country to do a better job of recycling their trash and taking responsibility for making sure it gets to where that recycling can happen.

Could each of us afford just a couple of minutes per day to create 1.5 million jobs for our country? All that would be required in most cases is to separate our trash and put all of what can be recycled into the recycling bin. Some may think this effort doesn’t help them much, but you never know who could benefit from one of the multitude of industries that can be built around recycling. With the average recycling job paying around $50,000 a year with benefits, it is not hard to see these are jobs are worth creating.

According to a report by the Tellus Institute with Sound Resource Management, if we could increase our national recycling rate from 34 percent to 75 percent it would create nearly 1.5 million NEW jobs. Switzerland, Austria, and Germany already average about 50% recycle rate so let’s challenge our citizens to top that in the United States and put people to work.

Jobs that pay $50,000 a year create tax revenue as does the businesses that employ them. Even better is the fact that recycling industry jobs create more jobs than they replace. Apparently the return and job potential of trash is much higher when you send the trash truck drivers to deliver all that trash to the recycling center for processing instead of burying it in the dump. All the jobs that make trash into new materials that can then be turned into useful products would not even exist if trash is buried in a landfill.

We can all help create more trash to be recycled if we can remember that with every plastic bottle, paper and glass product we recycle we are creating a new job for someone.

The circle of benefits from recycling includes more than those working directly in the recycling industry. There are a wide variety of businesses that make money providing services and products to those companies. Everything from accounting services to office supplies, building materials and machinery manufacturers all receive extra business when those jobs are created.

Everyone that works in the recycling industry or serves that industry will have more money in their pockets to spend for other personal services and products and maybe even a house. Dreams that are much harder to achieve on a minimum wage job with no chance of advancement.

All of that happens when you make sure that aluminum can you just finished drinking out of gets into the recycle bin.

Some people find other ways of increasing their cash flow by turning trash to treasure. Go to the Smart Health Talk Recycling Center and find a great crafting idea link. Make products out of recycled materials that repurpose or turn them into art. Maybe that pile of stuff you have been collecting and didn’t know what to do with could have a new life.

People and business can add a lot more recycling materials to the system by knowing what they can recycle and setting up a way to get it to the recycling centers. The system can take much more product. Many recycling centers are currently running far below capacity.

Educating yourself on what can be recycled helps us choose new products that can be put in the recycle instead of the trash bin. Both packaging and the actual product can have recycling potential. A growing group of designers and engineers are thinking about recycling potential when creating new things for us to buy. What a concept!

The energy saved by not having to make plastic or aluminum from scratch is huge. You avoid having to start by pulling oil or ore from the ground and then go through a multiple of steps to turn it into the finished product. It takes eight times less energy to turn an old plastic bottle into a new one, than to make a new plastic bottle from oil. This uses less energy and ultimately burns less coal keeping mercury and other pollutants out of our air, oceans, lakes, and soils.

Knowing how much recycled materials could save energy in our country makes it hard to understand why our recycled materials are being sold to China. Go to our recycling center to listen to the interview with Dan Bahou, VP of Marketing for Global PET, to find out more about the recycled plastic industry and why selling these products to China is devastating to the United States.

Smart Health Talk is dedicated to supporting recycling and getting the word out. Their Recycling center on their website is full of resources and information all in one place.

Check out the “15 Tips for Recycling Day Anniversary” under Recycling from our “Resources” tab or just click the link on our homepage.

Find out the latest in recycling today at 4:00 pm PST on Smart Health Talk Radio show as we talk with Ginny Routhe, Assistant Director of Sustainability at Pomona College. If you can’t listen to KCAA 1050 AM on your radio, you can tune in from your cell, notebook, or computer. Go to on click on USTREAM to watch us in the studio, or click “tunein” to listen. The homepage has a link for more instructions. Host Elaine McFadden, MPH, RD will also provide tips on how to save hundreds of calories on your Thanksgiving meal and direct you to some great recipes.