WASHINGTON (Nov. 14, 2011)—A national recycling rate of 75 percent would create nearly 1.5 million jobs in the U.S. compared with 2008, according to a study performed by the Tellus Institute for the BlueGreen Alliance.
A 75-percent recycling rate would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 276 million metric tons by 2030, equivalent to closing 72 coal-fired power plants or taking 50 million cars off the road, the study's sponsors said.
“While the vast majority of municipal solid waste can be readily recycled, reused or composted, only 35 percent is currently diverted from disposal,” according to the executive summary of the study, “More Jobs, Less Pollution.”
The study mentions a wide range of materials that are or can be recycled, including rubber, plastics, metals, glass, textiles and wood.
Scrap tires, at 87 percent, are already above the recycling rate recommended by the report, according to figures from the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
Founded in 2006 by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, the BlueGreen Alliance is a labor-environmental collaboration that, in its words, “unites nearly 15 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy.”
Other groups affiliated with the BlueGreen Alliance include the United Auto Workers, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Service Employees International Union, the Communications Workers of America, the National Wildlife Federation and the American Federation of Teachers.