How Trash Turns Into Jobs

Dec 10, 2012

It might come as a surprise that recycled garbage makes quite an impact on the state’s economy. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan takes a look at the sweet side of trash.

What’s green for the environment is also bringing in a stack of greenbacks. A new study commissioned by the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority – CRRA – found recyclable garbage from households and businesses was valued at $746 million of sales this year. CRRA’s Paul Nonnenmacher:

“As more and more items come into the recycling stream, as more and more businesses begin getting involved with some kind of recycling activity, the sector is just going to grow, and grow and grow.”

Connecticut recovers energy from 80% of its non-recyclable waste. The study, conducted by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, found in 2012, employment from recycling activities supports 4,800 jobs. Now CRRA is planning to build a composting facility to generate electricity from food waste, which is a huge problem in the state. This means more work and more jobs, says Nonnemacher.

“So you’re going to need drivers to drive these trucks to collect the material. You’re going to need people to run the processing facility; you’re going to need construction workers because it’s going to be built. So there’s going to be opportunity and more of it in the years to come from this sector.”

The CRRA is not only the state’s largest recycler, it’s also an educator. The self-funded quasi-public agency runs the Trash Museum in Hartford to help promote recycling among households and businesses.

For WNPR, I’m Sujata Srinivasan.