Thursday, July 31, 2008

Green Trash Profits

"Trash is no longer just an environmental liability. It is becoming a financial asset. And it is everywhere."

Roben Farzad, Cash for Trash, Business Week, August 4, 2008.

Metals recyclers are getting $100 more a ton and venture capitalist investments in "waste and recycling" more than doubled in 2007 to $645 million.

We have seen booms and busts before in the prices for waste commodities but this time the climb in oil prices combined with the green movement may keep the industry momentum growing and on track.

This is the kind of green industry that is creating a range of jobs available to people with different skill and experience levels. See the Seattle Jobs Initiative July 2008 Job Trends Report for a straightfoward look at green jobs in one region.

I visited the impressive operations of the San Francisco Goodwill last week and observed a smart, labor intensive sorting process that differentiated all our throwaway and donated goods for resale shops, Ebay sales, refurbishing, balers, and microentrepreneurs.These sorting jobs were a starting point for people getting back into the workforce.

I started in recycling 25 years ago in Chicago by supporting "buy back" centers for "alley entrepreneurs." See my: Nonprofit Leadership.
Turning waste into starting jobs and career jobs is an equity payoff of the green movement and higher oil prices. How many new recycling jobs are being created? And, what do we do about glass?

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