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Research Project 1
(2012-2013)

Putting Solid Waste to Work:
A Longitudinal Study of Employment Effects of 1988 Florida Solid Waste Management Act

Project Overview

This study will investigate and measure the employment effects of 1988 Florida Solid Waste Management Act (SWMA). SWMA mandated waste minimization, conservation of landfill space, litter control, and recycling. The SWMA not only laid a solid foundation for sustainable and environmentally responsible solid waste management, it has also stimulated job creation in specific industrial sectors of the economy. Large numbers of quality green jobs have been produced in solid waste management in the two decades since implementation of the SWMA. But existing data does not isolate the specific sectors and subsectors influenced by the SWMA or track green jobs over time. This study will produce a unique data set to evaluate the trajectories of green job growth in solid waste management industries in Florida over the period from 1989 to 2010, with longitudinal employment information supplemented by a survey of solid waste businesses. Specifically, this study examines, first, the history of aggregate employment of solid waste management; second, the employment history of different facility types involved in solid waste management, including recycling, landfill, waste-to-energy facilities, hazardous waste disposal and waste administration. This study also differentiates direct and indirect solid waste employment to generate rigorous evaluation of the economic impact of SWMA, and provide practical policy advices for policy makers and administrators to stimulate solid-waste-based economic development and create more green jobs for Florida.

Research Objectives

This project aims,

1. To develop a longitudinal database of solid waste employment at the facility, county and state levels;

2. To evaluate the growth rate of solid waste jobs in recycling, landfill, waste-to-energy facilities, hazardous waste disposal and waste administration at the county and state levels;

3. To compare the growth rate of solid waste jobs and overall employment in Florida;

4. To evaluate the effect of recycling incentives on patterns of employment growth;

5. To provide policy advice regarding designs of solid waste management programs and efficient mechanisms to stimulate job growth in solid waste management.