Jobs in the US Waste and Recycling Industry Increase

The waste management and remediation industry in the United States is experiencing a constant increase in employed workers.

According to adjusted seasonal data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 382,500 workers were hired in August. In July, the workforce number was at 382,200. This means that the waste industry has grown by 300 jobs within one month—a 0.3% increase.

This is a great improvement in comparison to the number of workers in August 2013, which stood at 375,900.

BLS’ data sheet also shows that other jobs have witnessed a similar or better workforce upsurge since July, including:

  •        Water Transportation: 68,400 to 68,700 (0.3 % increase)
  •        Paper and Paper Products: 373,100 to 373,400 (0.3 %)
  •        Fabricated Metal Products: 1,454,500 to 1,454,900 (0.4 %)
  •        Furniture and Related Products: 370.2 to 370.7 (0.5 %)
  •        Textile Mills: 116,700 to 117,200 (0.5 %)

However, their occupational progress isn’t as surprising as the figures representing an industry that usually deals with trash and waste in not so clean or safe circumstances.

Services usually include “solid waste collection; hazardous waste collection; other waste collection; hazardous waste treatment and disposal; solid waste landfills; solid waste combustors and incinerators; other nonhazardous waste treatment and disposal; remediation services; materials recovery facilities; and all other waste management services.”

This may not seem like the ideal job to pursue, but according to stats, it’s becoming popular by the numbers—especially when it comes to preserving the well-being of natural resources within the ecosystem.

A representative for private sector, National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA), says that these particular jobs continue to witness such rapid success because of favorable circumstances. 

“The waste and recycling industry continues to benefit from stable economic condition,” said Director Bret Biggers of statistics and standards for NW&RA in the U.S. “After adjusting for seasonal factors, employment in the industry reached another high mark.”

One factor that may be aiding this sudden growth in jobs is the recycling advocacy occurring in areas around the country. 

For example, nonprofit organization OKC Beautiful was one out of eight nominees of a $10,000 grant sponsored by the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and Waste Management.

OKC Beautiful plans to use the Think Green Grant for ongoing local “development and sustainability of environmental solutions.”

The grant will mainly support OKC Beautiful’s Waste Reduction Challenge, which aims to increase the community’s participation by 2 percent.

Currently, the percentage of residents recycling (31%) is lower than the national average of 35%.

The group hopes to achieve their goal by using educational programs in schools and businesses.

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“Supporting communities by helping make them cleaner thereby improving quality of life for residents is what our company, and Keep America Beautiful, is all about,” said Manager Rick Padgett of public sector solutions for Waste Management of Oklahoma, Inc.

Campaigns alike may definitely be spreading awareness and inspiring more interest in this industry.

Overall, August marked the seventh consecutive month where waste and recycling services grew—showing a steady support for the industry.  

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