Currently there’s a clear gap and opportunity to increase ‘reuse’ rates in Scotland. The Green Alliance Report findings highlight new jobs are within reach.
Two independently reported research/news items published recently make startling claims regarding jobs and resources.
The second is information published in Third Force News on 27th January 2015 by Robert Armour stating that 200,000 people in Scotland received a share of £47m in 2014 from the Scottish Welfare Fund in the past 18 months
Philip Inman, Economics Correspondent for the Guardian reported on the Green Alliance data stating that, ‘200,000 jobs could be created as the economy shifts to reusing materials traditionally discarded by businesses and households, according to a study by a leading green charity.’ Green Alliance said the jobs could be created by a new breed of companies that embrace recycling and the servicing of goods to prolong their lifespan. The report argued that the move could stimulate jobs in areas of high unemployment that specialise in services exported to the rest of the country. Firms spearheading ways to share services, such as car clubs, could also spur a growth in low and semi-skilled jobs.
At the same time as The Guardian was reporting on the value of reusing resources and the possible impact on the economy. Scotland’s chief statistician released statistics which showed that during the first 18 months of the scheme, 53,000 households received a total of 59,000 awards for community care grants, while around 83,000 households – including 17,000 households who also received community care grants – received a total of 134,000 crisis grant awards that averaged around £70 per award.
Further information in the Green Alliance report created with support from Wrap says by 2030 there would be 205,000 extra jobs and a 54,000 drop in unemployment. In Scotland, figures published for 2013 shows the average household waste per capita sits at 452.9kg and a 42.2% recycling rate (Local Authority League Tables, Resource Winter 2015). There is clearly a gap and an opportunity to increase the reuse rate and if the Green Alliance Report findings are accurate then new jobs are within reach.
CRNS works with reuse, repair and recycling organisations across Scotland and is shortly to publish its own report, Scottish Welfare Fund – Reuse Sector Proposal: Partnership Working with Furniture Reuse Organisations.
This report focuses on the innovative practices that CRNS members and Scottish Local Authorities are using to maximise reuse of resources and impact on the lives of people in need. Clearly there is still work to be done to create job opportunities from reuse of resources but there does appear to be a will to make this happen. Although there are some sources that suggest that tougher regulations governing the re-usability and ease of recycling staple goods will mean they cost more and put them out of reach of poorer households CRNS firmly believe that the dual impacts on the economy and climate will be for the better.
Policy in Scotland needs to support reuse and investment decisions need to think long term and measure the impact in the round so that job creation through recycling is not just a handy spin off but a key component of green infrastructure.
By looking to job creation through reuse it is possible to move people from low pay and welfare support into economically viable roles that give self-respect and freedom from poverty to individuals while generating tax income for the economic welfare of the country as a whole. There will no doubt that there will always be some people in need and we should have strong systems of support in place so that the safety and welfare is available to people when needed, but we must also work hard to make inroads to reusing resources to benefit the greater good, create more jobs and reduce the negative impact on climate by the throwaway society in which we live.
Mary S. McLuskey
Chief Executive, CRNS www.crns.org.uk, firstname.lastname@example.org