Do American Cities Have Enough Room for Green Jobs?

Share Article

While making room for housing and retail developments, cities often fail to create space for industries that can produce environmentally and economically sustainable jobs. A video by the Northern California Recycling Association explores the development dilemmas faced by local governments that want to create green jobs.

Cities and counties need to allocate sufficient, appropriate spaces for the development of recycling and reuse facilities, just like we plan for roads, wastewater treatment, and energy production infrastructure

President Obama has called for a "green" economy, where economic progress and environmental sustainability are achieved in harmony. But many U.S. cities are failing to make room for the industries that would create these green-collar jobs.

"Point of Return," a 17-minute video produced by the Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA), explains how the companies that create these green jobs need industrial space that cities are often converting into housing or retail developments. Using the City of Oakland, California as a case study, the video examines the need for public policies that allow environmentally sustainable and economically productive industries, including manufacturers who use recycled materials, not only to exist, but to thrive.

"Recycling is an important environmental issue, but it's bigger than that. Recycling is also a key to America developing a greener and more sustainable economy," says Steve Lautze, Green Business Projects Manager with the City of Oakland, CA and past president of the Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA).

A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Recycling Coalition found that United States recycling and reuse companies employ 1.1 million people, generate an annual payroll of $37 billion, and gross $236 billion in annual revenues - which is comparable to the size of the auto and truck manufacturing industry. Unlike the U.S. auto industry, however, this "green materials" segment of our economy is growing rapidly, and the majority of these enterprises are manufacturers who use recycled content in their products.

These jobs, and the hundreds of thousands more that could be created in a green economy based on "Zero Waste" goals now being adopted widely in both the public and private sectors, are at risk unless local governments make land use choices to support their development. "Some of the greenest businesses with the most positive environmental and economic impacts are industrial enterprises that can take up a lot of space and make a lot of noise," says Patty Moore, president of Moore Recycling Associates and a member of the Northern California Recycling Association.

"Cities and counties need to allocate sufficient, appropriate spaces for the development of recycling and reuse facilities, just like we plan for roads, wastewater treatment, and energy production infrastructure," says Lautze. "Such foresight will pay great dividends, including creation of good paying jobs that build a more stable future."

To learn more, watch the video online at http://www.ncrarecycles.org/video/video2.html.

About the Northern California Recycling Association
The Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA) is an association of recycling businesses, community groups, municipalities, and individuals committed to promoting, expanding, and institutionalizing recycling. NCRA promotes waste reduction, reuse, salvaging, recycling, and composting as vital tools for resource and energy conservation, and as cost-effective, environmentally sound methods of disposing of discarded materials. Learn more at http://www.ncrarecycles.org.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print