The Transylvania Times -

Recycling Creates Jobs


In the last few weeks several positive educationals on economic development for our county have been held. The first was Neil Feldman, president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance of Washington, D.C., who presented seven or eight waste development, environmentally friendly projects successful in similar-sized rural counties in U.S. and Canada. (website Feldman spent the day sharing information with city and county officers and reported a positive response. I thank our officials and city/county employees for their openness.

This very full and specific talk was sponsored by People for Clean Mountains. On Aug. 22, a more familiar face, Will Sagar, executive director of Southeast Recycling Development Council (, spoke of expanding collection and re-manufacturing use of the waste streams (trash, to the rest of us), throughout the region. This was a great follow-up to Feldman’s future options, as this showed where we are now.

In short, in North Carolina, 10 percent yearly increases in recycled municipal waste leads to more than 1,600 new jobs, over $78 million annual personal income, and about $3.6 million annual state tax revenue. (Quoted from handout). This was backed up by statistics showing that recycling/ waste management employment rose since 2008, even as many lost their jobs. Sagar gave examples of several projects and noted the success of South Carolina’s economic recovery after the loss of tobacco and fabric jobs several years ago, in part due to a major waste management focus. Though previously scheduled by the Transylvania Sierra Club, it was very timely.

Let’s encourage our elected and appointed people to follow up on expanding our current re-use of the waste stream of Transylvania County and looking for new directions for solid economic, environmentally supportive growth.

Susan Sunflower



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