About half of the population of Bangladesh, which stands at 168.9 million people, lives in poverty, with around 76 percent of working people earning $2 per day- according to the United Nations Development Programme statistics. The recycling industry has grown up quickly in recent decades, and this boom has terned into the social, environmental and economic benefits for society. One of these is the creation of jobs in the recycling industry, as well as recycling self-employment opportunities. There are also several training options available for those interested in pursuing a career in the recycling industry.
Recycling Industry Job Statistics in developed countries:
l According to the REI, the US recycling industry employed 1.25 million people whereas the US Solid Waste Management Industry used only 0.25 million people. The REI study says that there are more than 56,000 reuse and recycling establishments in the USA. REI also states that on average the recycling industry pays higher average wages than the solid waste management industry.
l According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), the systematic removal of every 10,000 tons of solid waste creates only six jobs while the same amount of waste if recycled can create recycling jobs for as many as 36 people.
l Another report stated that wider government focus on the recycling industry could create 10,000 new jobs in the UK by 2020.
l A study by “Friends of the Earth” said that over 51,000 recycling jobs could be created in the UK, if 70% of collected waste was recycled. If industrial and commercial waste were recycled at the same rate, another 18,800 additional job would be created. The study suggested that the government must be ambitious in setting yearly recycling rates. Sufficient actions to stop the production and selling of products that can’t be reused and recycled can take recycling rate to 75% by 2025.
l On an EU level, if a goal of 70% recycling of the main recyclable materials was met, the estimation suggests that up to 322,000 direct recycling jobs could be created in the 27 EU countries. EU countries would recycle an extra 115 million tons of textiles in the process, including woods, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastic, paper, bio-waste, and glasses. Recycling this amount of wastes and materials could create another 160,900 indirect and 80,400 induced jobs. Therefore, the total potential is more than 563,000 net new jobs.
Lowering the unemployment rate can be a golden opportunity for employment generation through established plastic recycling factory. Plastic is one of the most widely used and known elements in everyday life. Its importance is increasing in the present world. At the same time, Plastic Waste Management has become a major headache for developing countries like Bangladesh. The use of plastic bags has been banned in the country. Nevertheless, its use has not been stopped. Maybe, Proper Management of plastic waste can be a timely decision to solve this problem. However, Bangladesh is completely import dependent country for plastic raw materials (polymers) and this is definitely a good thing. No need to worry about catastrophic control of new polymer production. There are more than 3,000 Plastic Manufacturing Companies in this country. Eighty-nine percent of these companies are small and medium enterprises. The plastics industry contributes to one percent of the country’s total GDP. Its domestic market value is about one thousand million US dollars and the sector is involved with the employment of more than five million people. As a developing country, the plastics industry is expanding in the country but it can be said without any waste in plastic waste. Plastic waste can be recycled in most well-designed and scientific ways. It is also being done in mass in different countries. A large portion of plastic waste (eg: PET plastic) is exported to China, Thailand, Finland, etc. for advanced recycling. Direct contamination of dirt and garbage when it comes to collecting plastic waste leads to extreme health. The health or the indirect effects of such a large part of society are extremely neglected to the conscious people of the society. Every day, about 1,220 tonnes of waste is produced in the two cities of Dhaka. But in Megacity Dhaka, modern, sustainable and advanced waste management has not been developed yet. Plastics do not have the ability to be mixed with the soil, it spreads to the ground, and may interfere with the recharge of ground water. As a result, the level of the fresh water table will decrease day by day. The crisis of drinking water will increase rapidly.
Another aspect of a developing country like Bangladesh is unemployment and lack of employment. This problem is caused by the shortage of employment compared to the manpower of the country. We need to make that employment arrangement within our reach. All we need is the government’s willingness to cooperate and invest in the right sector. The industrial sector or factory can be recycled by recycling plastic bottles or pieces of bottles. Bangladesh is rarely called to invest in this sector. Some plastic wastes are directly exported to establishments like 1-5, which is negligible compared to the plastic waste produced.
We have an outstanding opportunity in our country to join a team focused on the recycled plastics sector. The government of Bangladesh can provide employment opportunities to many people. In addition, this plastic waste can be used to produce fuel oil. And it needs government petronization to make it in reality. Another potential area of plastic waste recycling and employment in Bangladesh may be the production of resin or cloth yarn. Bangladesh is spending more than 20 crores in making plastic bottles and garment yarn resins. Plastic bottles are produced by recycling this resin, a specialty yarn in the garment factory. The process of creating resins is not a very simple method, but a long process. . Resin production can become one of the most productive places of employment in government sponsorship. The industry will also play a role in earning foreign currency to meet the country’s domestic demand.
Another use in plastic waste is gas and oil production. By setting up plants for the production of fuel-gas from plastic waste. The price of diesel produced will cost Tk 20. Because the production, processing and marketing of gas and oil from waste will require a lot of manpower. In addition, many people will be required to collect and supply plastic waste and raw materials. For plastic recycling, collected items go through a rigorous process to be usable as a raw material for the production of new goods. From the collection of materials to selling them, recycling businesses need varying degrees of skilled and semi-skilled employees to perform recycling industry jobs. Many recycling companies and associations play a significant role in building social awareness by providing recycling training services.
Below this flow chart described the opportunity of manpower in plastic recycling factory as well as plastic recycling sector.
Given the capacity of recycling to generate jobs, it is important to take the necessary steps to create an environment that stimulates recycling and recycled material markets. The government should make a platform for people interested in these activities. Interested people can arrange loans on easy terms. Even the public-private initiative can implement these projects if desired. Plastic waste recycling can be a huge employment and economic zone for the country. Running our business in a sustainable manner isn’t just good for the planet — it’s good for our bottom line. Learn best practices for sustainability in our business operations, and find out how to build a business around recycling.
The author is studying at Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Trishal, Mymensingh