New York City could lose a golden opportunity to generate up to 60,000 new jobs in the recycling industry if it does not address a number of concerns, according to a study conducted by the city comptroller's office.
If the city does not deal with some of the barriers that keep recycling companies out of the city, it may in fact get only 18,000 jobs, the study says. And, it notes, many of the new jobs would be low-skilled jobs -- of particular importance because the city has lost so many low-skilled manufacturing jobs.
"New York City has already lost to New Jersey more than 100 new jobs generated by the city's own recycling program," Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman said in a statement released last week. "If the city acts now, we can make sure that most of the potential 60,000 jobs that will be created by recycling will stay in New York City."
The study says the city's Department of Sanitation estimates that its solid waste management plan, which includes an incineration program as well as recycling, will generate 22,000 jobs by the year 2010, mostly in new industries that process solid waste. Those jobs will in turn create roughly another 22,000 for a total of 44,000.
But if the department dropped the incineration program, the comptroller's study says, another 16,000 jobs could be created to deal with the solid waste that is not incinerated. The sanitation department currently estimates that only about 9,400 recycling jobs, which would generate a total of 18,000 jobs over all, will be located in New York City.
The comptroller's office, after surveying 29 recycling companies, said obstacles such as the quality of recyclable materials in the city, the lack of a market for processed material, and the cost of business keep a number of companies out of the city.
To remedy these problems, the comptroller's office recommends: * Improvement in how the sanitation department makes its collections and processes its recyclable materials. * City purchase of more products made from recyclable materials by companies based in the city. * Help from the city so recycling companies may locate here. * Tax credits or grants for recycling research and development and the offer of city-owned land for recycling centers.