1,400 new full-time jobs could be supported for every million tons of yard trimmings and food scraps converted into compost that is used locally.
At least this is claimed by he Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), nonprofit think tank based in Washington DC, in their report Pay Dirt: Composting in Maryland to Reduce Waste, Create Jobs, & Protect the Bay based on a survey of Maryland composters.
In Maryland, organic materials such as food scraps, grass clippings and wood chips equal to about 780,000 tons each year. Composting those items would create twice as many jobs as sending waste to landfill, 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.
Many of these jobs are skilled jobs such as equipment operators. Collectively these jobs could pay wages ranging from $23 million to $57 million.
Compost is a valuable soil conditioner that adds needed organic matter, sequesters carbon, improves plant growth, conserves water, and reduces reliance on chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Compost use can reduce watershed contamination from urban pollutants by 60 to 95 percent. Because compost can hold 20 times its weight in water and acts like a filter and sponge, it can reduce soil erosion and prevent stormwater run-off.