March 2017

Why Should Baltimore Recycle More?

The report was prepared to inform city agencies, City Council and Mayor's Office about the immediate opportunities for increased recycling and its potential economic impact on the city. The Office of Sustainability, Department of Planning and the Department of Public Works were all generous with their data and insights in helping prepare the report. ILSR also relied on input from environmental organizations and recycling and composting businesses. What follows is the introduction of the report, the full report is available for download here.

There are two primary reasons why Baltimore should invest in more recycling. Establishing high recycling levels will position the city's residents and businesses for the future, when the costs of incineration and landfill will be more expensive. The city could save citizens and businesses hundreds of millions of dollars by shrinking its waste stream for the next generation.

More immediately, increased recycling means more jobs. Within three years, based on the experiences of other cities, Baltimore could have 500 new direct jobs in this sector of the city's economy. In general, for every 10,000 tons of materials incinerated, one job is created. For every 10,000 tons of materials processed for recycling and composting, five to 10 jobs are created. Hundreds more jobs are created when processed materials are used in industry and agriculture. Oakland, CA created 1,000 jobs in the recycling sector in the last 10 years. Based on the results of a recent business report on recycling and jobs in South Carolina, if just one percent of Baltimore residents recycled eight more newspapers per month, it would add $304,000 to the local economy.

Author: Neil Seldman

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