Recycling can play a huge role in a regenerative economy. The figure above shows the countries that trend the highest on Google for the term “Recycling – Industry”. The results of the search were interesting, as I assumed that wealthy industrialized nations would be the front runners on the list. Further research into the recycling industry revealed that a prevalent “garbage picker” industry exists in many South American countries. Workers are compelled to collect garbage from dumps due to high rates of unemployment. While it may not be their intention, these people are making an important difference their cities, and their environment.
The idea of creating employment through recycling can be emulated by any society in the world. Improvements to the environment, economy, and society can be made by industrializing recycling. Often, many workers lack civil rights protections and work under horrid conditions due to their circumstances. Legitimizing the garbage to recycling industry could help alleviate the maltreatment of workers around the world.
In 2012, the recycling rate of the US was only 34.5%.It is estimated that a recycling rate of 75% would create over 1 million jobs by the year 2030. Societies that push to expand recycling should see improvements in sanitation, employment, environmental health, and production. The expansion of the recycling industry directly aligns with the principles of regenerative economics. Doing so would be a huge step towards creating a more sustainable and responsible society.
Not everyone can be a recycling worker. However, you can make a difference too!
Click on the image below to participate in recycling yourself!