Resource Use

GAIA study links zero-waste systems to job opportunities

A new study from the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) has found that cities that invest in zero-waste programmes and policies can be expected to create thousands of green job opportunities.

bin men collecting recyclingThe study projects that if London were to recycle or compost 80 per cent of the recyclable and organic material in its waste stream, the city could create around 5,000 new jobs.

The research involved a meta-analysis of 36 studies delivered across 16 countries that examined the job creation potential of various waste management strategies such as repair/reuse, recycling, composting, incineration and landfill.

Results have shown that zero-waste strategies score highest on environmental benefits and create the most jobs of any waste management approach.

The findings anticipate that remanufacturing can create almost 30 times as many jobs as landfills and incineration, recycling creates around 70 times as many and reuse creates over 200 times as many.

Results have also concluded that zero-waste systems can create jobs that provide higher wages and offer more permanent positions.

Report co-author Dr. Neil Tangri, Science and Policy Director at GAIA, commented: “With the world still reeling from the pandemic, job creation is a top priority.

“Zero waste offers a strategy to create good jobs and reduce pollution, without breaking the bank. It’s a triple win for the economy, the environment, and the city.”

Speaking about the report, UKWIN National Coordinator Shlomo Dowen added: “Because the majority of London’s non-recycled waste is incinerated, it will be necessary for the city to incinerate less if it wants to recycle more.

“Such a move towards a more sustainable London would create much needed employment, whilst improving air quality and the quality of life for the residents of our capital city.”