It’s common knowledge that recycling materials helps the environment by reducing waste. Everything from plastic bottles to cardboard packaging can be processed for use in other products. In addition to easing the burden on landfills, recycling offers a boost in the economy by providing thousands of jobs and saving costs on manufacturing new goods.
One main source of economic benefits resulting from recycling plastics involves a reduced cost in materials for new goods. Depending on the materials, manufacturers can save up to 90% of their production costs by using recycled materials rather than obtaining, refining, and extracting brand new substances such as aluminum, paper, and plastics. This can also reduce the resulting prices of manufactured goods and allow consumers to save on out of pocket expenses.
Reusing materials rather than shipping them to a landfill also creates more jobs. Some estimates state that while trashing 10,000 tons of waste creates 6 jobs, recycling that same waste would create 36 jobs. The recycling industry requires roles ranging from material sorters to chemists and innovation is constantly creating new ways to efficiently make use of recycled materials. As the rate of recycling continues to increase across the world, and the U.S. in particular, the industry seems to be a source of reliable growth and a relatively secure industry for employees. Statistics place the number of workers employed in the recycling industry at roughly the same figures as the automobile manufacturing industry, with wage rates notably higher than national averages.
Communities as a whole can also reap the economic benefits of recycling. In addition, cities and other areas can save significantly on their waste disposal costs. For areas with limited space, recycling can also prevent landfills from claiming valuable real estate that could be used in more profitable ways.
The plastics industry has seen particularly high benefits from recycling. Plastic materials are notorious for being resistant to biodegradation but are widely used in many industries. Many plastics manufacturers have been able to purchase and re-use plastic items, keeping them out of landfills and reducing the costs of producing more raw plastics while providing extra income to those industries that were previously just trashing their broken or scrap plastics. The whole cycle provides an economic benefit to all parties and helps to reduce the strain on the planet, a true win-win situation.