Recycling is a big industry, comparable in size to our auto and truck manufacturing industry. In 2000, it employed over 1. 1 million people and generated an annual payroll of $37 billion, representing a significant force in the country's economy, job creation and economic development. For comparison, incinerating 10,000 tons of waste creates one job and landfilling 10,000 tons of waste creates six jobs; recycling 10,000 tons of waste creates 36 jobs.
The public sector's investment in local recycling programs pays great dividends by creating private sector jobs. For every job collecting recyclables, there are 26 jobs in processing the materials and manufacturing them into new products.
As an example of how efficiently the salvage market functions, a recycled aluminum beverage can returns to the grocer's shelf as a new, filled can in as few as 60 days after collection. The steel industry recycles nearly 19 billion cans into new products each year, or about 600 cans per second.
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