Monica Wilson: More Jobs, Less Pollution
Post written by Monica Wilson at GAIA, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 650 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration.
The U.S. could create 1.5 million jobs through recycling. Right now, public funds for expensive, dirty “waste-to-energy” incinerators hold back job growth – and Congress is about to make it worse.
The U.S. could add nearly 1.5 million jobs if it adopted a 75% national recycling rate. Wow, that’s a lot of jobs! Instead of propping up the dinosaur economy highlighted in The Story of Broke, we can be investing in more jobs and a healthier future by keeping the stuff we use in our economy, instead of dumping or burning it.
These are the findings of the exciting new report More Jobs, Less Pollution, prepared for GAIA, the Teamsters, Blue Green Alliance, NRDC, and SEIU. One and a half million jobs in collections, sorting, reuse, and most of all, manufacturing. Jobs that should be good and safe, with family-supporting wages. The potential for recycling to create jobs has captured a lot of attention across the country since this report was released on National Recycling Day. Check out these great links here, here, and here.
Handling waste the wrong way destroys livelihoods and ruins local economies. Cities like Harrisburg, PA are going broke because incinerators are risky investments. Not only are they the most expensive way to make energy, incinerators are also the most expensive way to handle waste. Another new GAIA report Burning Public Money for Dirty Energy exposes the tax breaks and public money provided to the incinerator industry. These subsidies are intended for clean, renewable energy, not technologies that create more climate and mercury pollution than coal-fired power plants. New York State groups are mounting strong opposition to clean energy subsidies for incinerators.
Let’s not forget that “waste-to-energy” incinerators waste valuable resources instead of keeping them in the economy and burn the evidence of overconsumption.
And now Congress is poised to make a bad situation worse by gutting part of the Clean Air Act for some incinerators and cement kilns (HR 2250, HR 2681). Earthjustice estimates the resulting pollution would cause up to 9,000 deaths every year. Congress is also considering a bill (HR 66) to create new tax exemptions for “waste-to-energy” incinerators. So please, join us in telling our elected officials NO to bills for dirty energy, and YES to Zero Waste. Take action HERE!
Recycling and composting are necessary steps in the path to Zero Waste – and we can do much better than subsidizing polluters and pretending we’re too broke to invest in a healthier future.