Currently, about half of the waste in California is source reduced, recycled or composted. AB 341, authored by Assemblyman Wes Chesbro and passed in 2011, mandates that by 2020 75% of waste in California should be recycled. This will be done by expanding recycling services and increasing diversion efforts, as well as promoting recycling opportunities in the commercial sector.
According to the NRDC, by achieving the goal employment will increase. Because recycling waste is more labor intensive than land filling or incinerating (recycling generates .56 jobs for every 1000 tons of waste while landfilling and incinerating only generates about .1 jobs for every 1000 tons of waste) an increase in recycling will lead to an increase in jobs.
The report estimates that out of the 110,305 projected new jobs, 34,076 will come from the collection of waste, 26,180 will come from the processing of waste, and 50,049 will come from manufacturing using recovered materials. It is important to note that the 110,305 jobs only take into direct job growth as a result of the bill, it does not take into account indirect job growth such as job growth in industries that make the machines for recycling facilities, so the total job growth is potentially higher than calculated.
Thanks to AB 341, California’s increased recycling will not only benefit the environment, but also the economy.