As politicians and business leaders try to make sense of the recession and figure out how we can pull ourselves out of it, they seem to be missing a key component– recycling.

A new report titled, “More Jobs, Less Pollution: Growing the Recycling Economy in the U.S.” shows that if we increased the nation’s recycling rate to 75 percent by 2030, it could create 1.5 million jobs. The reason is because collecting and processing trash is more labor intensive than simply throwing it out. Increasing recycling would also have huge environmental benefits, including eliminating 276 million metric tons of pollution or the equivalent of shutting down 72 power plants.

The report also highlights the benefits salvage. It references an estimate by the Deconstruction Institute of Sarasota, Fla., that says, “Deconstruction of a 2,000-square-foot home will create 38 more worker-days at a living wage than would demolition.”

Page 22 of the report draws attention to Seattle, in particular, and discusses the city’s large-scale composting program and waste diversion goals.

So, rest easy knowing that your efforts to reduce waste are not only good for your own pocketbook; they’re good for the overall economy of the nation.

Posted 11/22/2011