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[greenyes] recycling jobs defense
Hi Jerry,

I agree about some of the points made about the recycling jobs reports but think your comment is a bit harsh. The biggest problem I think was EPA/NERC projecting a methodology which was specific to the Northeast onto the nation.

The first MA DEP study ("Value Added By Recycling Industries in MA") in 1992 was (I think) pretty careful about limiting the recycling jobs count to industries which would not be replaced, at least not regionally. For example, Newark paperboard would cut over 850 jobs in MA if recycling stopped. A new virgin papermill (or plastic mill) would no doubt open somewhere to meet the demand for Newark's products. But not in Lawrence, Haverhill, or Natick Massachusetts. If you really rolled out the "multipliers" (like pizza shops serving millworkers) it would be very serious indeed -- for Massachusetts, not for Oregon or Alaska. An NSWMA member even speculated that the employees at the mills probably generate more SW than the mill diverts, and that high-employment recycling industries were great for his business. The recycling jobs also tend to be close to urban areas rather than sprawled across federal lands.

A glass plant using 30% recycled cullet can pretty easily replace that cullet with virgin material and keep the manufacturing jobs; the 1992 MA study did not claim all the glass manufacturing jobs.

As for solid waste industry employment -- taking the 900 TPD of old newspaper the Newark paper mills consumed and putting dirt on it in a Lawrence MA landfill is certainly cold comfort. If limited to jobs which cannot be realistically replaced with virgin material (e.g. boxboard, tissue) the ratio of 100 recycling jobs to a landfill job seems perfectly defensible - at least in the Northeast, where virgin mill investments are few and far between.


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