Putting Waste to Work

Toxics Action Center releases report on Vermont's recycling and reuse industry



Putting Waste to Work

Environmental groups and recyclers released a report this morning documenting Vermont jobs created by reuse and recycling companies.  The report concluded that these companies provide many times more jobs per ton than Vermont’s landfills.

Jessica Edgerly, Vermont State Director of Toxics Action Center, the group who authored the report explains, “We surveyed dozens of Vermont businesses in the world of waste management, asking them how much material they processed and how many people they hired.  There was a stark contrast in the numbers we were getting from recyclers versus those from the state’s major landfills.”

According to Toxics Action Center’s report, Vermont’s reuse, repair, and recycling businesses hire hundreds of workers to process the same amount of material processed by a single landfill worker.

Colin Davis of Good Point Recycling explained, “We process electronic waste almost entirely by hand.  Because of that we’re able to resell parts intact.  So, we sell a high-end power supply for $10, instead of the $.15 we’d get for it as a scrap piece.  The extra value we get from the materials means more jobs.” 

The report identifies Vermont’s low recycling rate as a limit to the growth of the recycling businesses surveyed.  Vermont’s recycling rate continues to hover at 30% despite a state goal of reaching 50% by 2006.  Nantucket and San Francisco, meanwhile, boast recycling rates of 90% and 72%, respectively.

The report recommends instituting statewide Pay As You Throw, expanding the Bottle Bill, and expanding the state’s recycling collection infrastructure in order to boost Vermont’s recycling rate.

Edgerly adds, “Vermont currently leaves a lot on the table.  Higher recycling rates would mean more materials to feed recycling businesses and create more jobs.”

Read about us in the news:

“Vt. Cracks down on illegal junkyards.” WCAX. 4/13/10

“Industry, Environmentalists Want Junkyard Regulation.” Vermont Public Radio. 4/13/10

“Vt. Bill calls for regulation of junkyards: Bill intended to protect environment.” WPTZ. 4/13/10