waste management facility with worker

Roseate Future Awaits Waste Industry Professionals

The waste industry is relatively new compared to the many traditional industries that contribute to every nation’s economy. Yet the past few decades of growth is not only a testament to finding more sustainable ways of managing waste but initially a response to an increasingly worrying trend in waste production and disposal.

However challenging the prospects have been, there is a burgeoning hope that awaits industry professionals, particularly the waste industry staffing sector.

Global and Domestic Waste Statistics

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), globally in 2017, about 1.3 billion tons of waste was generated. By 2100, this will reach 4 billion tons for one year. Plastic production remains one of the significant contributors as it grew 25-fold from 1960 to 2000. Sadly, in the present decade, only less than 5 percent of plastic wastes are recycled. E-wastes, which are electrical and electronics-based wastes, expectedly have grown too. In 2018, people globally have already generated nearly 50 billion tons of e-waste.

In the US, about half a million tons of solid waste are processed annually. Seventy percent of such wastes are landfilled, over a quarter are recycled, and five percent is incinerated. By comparison, the US fares better against the world average in the recycling sector. And this is a glowing part of the waste industry’s potential in the coming decades. Globally, the ILO expects nine to 25 million jobs to be added in the coming years, and this bodes well for the domestic waste industry.

US Waste Industry: Supply-side Numbers

waste bins with colored lids

The National Waste and Recycling Association has estimated that the waste industry only accounts for half of a percent of the nation’s GDP. But 27,000 organizations, over half from the public sector, operate nationwide. These organizations used over 200,000 equipment and nearly 150,000 vehicles to power the industry last year. With the remarkable amount of activity, the industry has generated net revenue of $43.3 billion. Three-quarters of the revenues came from the private sector. This shows robust participation from the private sector which accounts to just 45 percent of the number of waste management related businesses nationally. The advent of better waste reduction and disposal solutions led to the creation of more private businesses.

US Waste Industry: Employment and Social Impacts

Last year, the industry created nearly a million jobs. The multiplier effect of such job generation is significant. For every dollar that was generated, $1.23 additional revenues were created. For every job made, 1.58 jobs were created outside the industry. Compensation-wise, $10 billion was generated, including benefits. The average employee in the industry can expect a salary of around $27,000 per year, while managers can get an average of at least $53,000 per year. The latter figure has actually inflated in recent years with some earning over $85,000 annually.

The waste industry is becoming a hotbed of advancements in sustainable waste management and technological innovations. Global numbers speak for themselves. As more wastes are generated for the production of goods and services, more demand arises to manage them more appropriately. The future is indeed bright for every waste management professional joining the industry.