According to the Solid Waste Association of North America, increases in organics collection and statewide recycling goals (like California's landmark AB 341) are driving job creation.
According to Waste and Recycling News:
Across the country, budgets are still being squeezed and job growth in the waste industry is stagnant. But there are areas of slight growth, said Jeremy O'Brien, director of applied research for the Solid Waste Association of North America.
"Obviously, everyone is feeling the budget pinch, so it would be a difficult time to institute new services and hire people," he said.
However, O'Brien pointed to the West Coast, and specifically California, where curbside organics collection is growing, which may add jobs in collections and at compost facilities.
"There are pockets of trends, driven by new recycling goals," he said.
Florida has hit a statewide challenge of 75% diversion head on, and new laws mandating apartment and business recycling in California are growing the recycling market there.
The opportunity for increase job growth is evident in the recent experiences of the city of San Francisco which has passed an ordinance mandating recycling and composting.
Since 2000, Recology has added more than 200 jobs in the city. Those jobs were added as the city made curbside organics collection mandatory and opened additional recycling processing facilities.
"Communities that build recycling facilities, add recycling programs, expand existing recycling programs, add modern composting facilities, they are going to create jobs," Reed said. "They're going to help protect the environment, reduce landfill disposal and create local, permanent jobs."