BioCycle Magazine, May 13, 2013
A new report released on May 8 by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) — “Pay Dirt: Composting in Maryland to Reduce Waste, Create Jobs, & Protect the Bay” — found that 1,400 new full-time jobs could be supported in the state of Maryland for every million tons of yard trimmings and food scraps converted into compost that is used locally. Collectively, these jobs could pay wages ranging from $23 million to $57 million. Based on a survey of Maryland composters, Pay Dirt calculated that, on a per-ton basis, composting sustains twice as many jobs as landfilling and four times the number of jobs as burning garbage. On a dollar-per-capital-investment basis, the number of jobs supported by composting versus disposal options was even more striking — 3 times more than landfills, and 17 times more than incinerators, says Brenda Platt, lead author of Pay Dirt and director of ILSR’s Composting Makes $en$e project. Many of these are skilled jobs such as equipment operators, with typical wages in the $16 to $20/hour range.
ILSR also released a companion paper, “Building Healthy Soils with Compost to Protect Watersheds,” which details how compost use can reduce watershed contamination from urban pollutants by an astounding 60 to 95 percent.