Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
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ECONOMIC Benefits of Zero Waste

New Zealand

In 1998, a survey of 64 recycling businesses in Auckland, undertaken by Waste Not Limited, showed that the numbers of people employed in this sector were already greater than many observers were picking. The Waste Not report found that:
  • About 1,700 employees were directly involved in recycling in the Auckland region. This figure is of similar size as the forestry, fishing and agriculture sector in the region.
  • A quarter of these jobs have been created since 1993.
  • Almost 300 more jobs are expected to be created in this local sector in the next few years.
  • On average, each business in the reuse and recycling industry directly employs 18 people.
  • Approximately one third of the employment positions were involved in the sorting and upgrading of recyclable materials.
  • One fifth of the reuse and recycling workforce was employed in the collection of materials for recycling.
  • The average wage in the recycling industry in 1998 was approx. $12/hr.
  • Nearly two hundred of the employment positions were involved in administration of the recycling businesses.

Waste and Recycling in the United States

Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 2000.

A study by the US Institute of Local Self Reliance has found that one job is created for every 15,000 tons of solid waste landfilled each year. For a similar amount of waste composted, seven jobs are created. If recycled, that material would generate nine jobs in collection and processing alone. This does not include the number of jobs that can then be created or retained in manufacturing.

Creating Wealth from Waste

Robin Murray, 1999, Demos, London.

Recent German studies estimate that the national waste and recycling industry has more than 1000 firms employing an average of 150 people each, with a turnover of between 80-100 billion DM per year. This is larger than employment in either steel or telecommunications in Germany. Of these 150,000 German jobs, 17,000 have been created through packaging recycling alone.


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email -
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