USA Green Jobs: The Recycling Economy And Jobs Of The Future

US ‘green economy’ generates $1.3 trillion and employs millions


The green economy is of huge importance to the United States both in terms of economic growth and employment. The country is emerging with new green job opportunities in the business sector. Top sustainable companies like Johnson & Johnson,  Hasbro, and Intuit in the United States implying sustainable practices in their companies leading to higher job opportunities.

Sustainability sector provides 4.5 million jobs in the US

The United States is the largest market at present in the global green economy with a 16.5% share. The green sector of America is offering numerous jobs, internships and sometimes can pay big bucks to study environmental problems. Some green jobs in the country pay more than $100,000 annually reducing both unemployment and environmental deterioration.

Going green is not only beneficial for the earth but also profitable for the companies in the country and green jobs are continuing to grow in popularity among companies. The number & range of companies hiring sustainability professionals is higher in different green sectors in the country.

Companies are going all green in the country due to increasing consumers‘ demands towards green products. Consumers in the United States are willing to pay more for sustainably-produced products. As people are paying attention to buying more green products, it reinforces the need for companies to increase their job opportunities to drive the company’s growth.

  • Apple had reached its target of 100% renewable energy and the company has since then constructed multiple wind & solar farms to sustain its existing data centres, retail stores, and corporate offices, according to the 2018 environmental responsibility report. The company and its products will be completely carbon neutral by 2030. 
  • Cisco is one of the most sustainable companies in the United States who aligns with a commitment to positively impact people, society, and the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 41% in 2017. Cisco also announced its new goal to reduce the use of virgin plastic by 20% by 2025. 
  • Ford motor company of the United States cut its global water use by more than 16% in 2009 and reduced CO2 emissions remaining on target to achieve a 30% reduction for new U.S vehicles in 2009.


The United States green economy now employs 10 times more people than the fossil fuel industry, providing nearly 9.5 million jobs.

As the population of the United States increases, the growth of a “green” energy sector will be highly driven by alternative fuels from renewable sources and energy leading to the creation of more green jobs in the country, which implies that there is a huge future in the green business as every sector is adopting it.

  • The United States has recorded 855,000 direct and indirect jobs in the renewable energy sector in 2018. The sector now employs more than 3 million people in the United States. America’s two fastest-growing jobs through 2026 will be solar installers and wind technicians.
  • The U.S. recycling rate of 75% by 2030 would create 1.1 million new jobs. According to a recycling information report of 2016, The United States creates 1.57 jobs for every 1,000 tons of materials recycled.
  • According to the U.S. Green Building Council, 26 million jobs in the green building sector were projected between 2015 and 2018 in the country.



Six Times More Plastic Waste is Burned in the U.S. than is Recycled, April 30, 2019

  • An average American consumer produces just under five pounds of trash each day, while a family creates about 18 pounds.
  • In 2013, Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash and then recycled and composted about 87 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.3 per cent recycling rate.
  • As the equivalent of 65 trash trucks per day of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean all over the United States. About 30% of the country’s garbage is packaging waste, which is of little use to consumers and is typically thrown out after a product is purchased.


Americans waste 150,000 tons of food each day – equal to a pound per person

  • In the United States alone, Americans waste $160 billion of that total, which is nearly 30 to 40 per cent of the entire U.S. food supply.
  • In 2017, more than 40 million tons of food waste was generated, with only six per cent diverted from landfills and combustion facilities.
  • It is estimated that 125-160 billion pounds of food that goes to waste every year, much of it is perfectly edible and nutritious.


200,000 Americans A Year Die From Air Pollution”

  • Four in ten Americans breathe unsafe air. The American Lung Association warns that almost half of Americans are inhaling unsafe air, according to its 2019 State of the Air report
  • Air pollution in the United States is about 77% due to power plants and other industrial processes.
  • Manure management accounts for  14% of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. 


Due to the above environmental problems facing the United States, there will be a high requirement for sustainability professionals. The environmental sector is constantly growing, and as we move into a more sustainable way of life, it’s evident that working in a green sector will not only bring you job security but also comfort that your role will be directly improving the environment.  

Doing Internships and environmental courses are a fantastic way to initiate your career within the environmental sector. These offer you the opportunity to gain real-life experience and give you the chance to tackle real-life challenges of the environment, therefore there will be high demands for professionals in the green job sectors.

Aspiring environmental educators and sustainability professionals can earn a degree in environment and sustainability, starting with environmental-related courses that provide much information regarding how an individual can start his/her career in the environmental field. 


Many institutes are offering an array of courses on environmental and sustainability topics. A better understanding of these topics is sure to help everyone from any sector. Some of these Certificate courses you might be interested in are,

  1. Strategies for sustainability program offered by Stanford

A self-paced online course, which explores frameworks and tools needed to promote sustainability. It is a 3-day course on how you can become a change agent through transformative leadership and design thinking.

  1. Harvard sustainable business strategy course

The course explores the different business models that companies can use to drive change and explains why purpose-driven businesses are particularly well-positioned to tackle the world’s biggest problems including environmental problems and climate change

  1. Circular economy – sustainable materials management by Lund University

This course looks at where important materials in products we use every day come from and how these materials can be used more efficiently, longer, and in closed loops. The course also teaches skills and tools for analyzing circular business models in the transition to a Circular Economy.

  1. Certificate Course by Earth5R on Global Sustainability and Climate Change

Earth5R Institute of Social and Environmental Sustainability (EISES) offers certificate courses on Global Sustainability and Climate Change. The program blends online and offline learning (within 3 km of your location) with the ongoing projects. Students receive one-to-one learning and experience which offers great flexibility.

The course covers topics like Circular Economy, Social Entrepreneurship, Climate Change Mitigation Facilities, and more.


Earth5R is an environmental organization from India with its head office at Mumbai. It works with the NGO sector, Companies and helps them conduct environmental corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs across India. Earth5R specializes in circular economy based projects. Earth5R also offers short term and long term environmental courses.

Earth5R’s Global Sustainability Hub is a cross-sector and cross-country collaboration in pursuit of UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is an excellent opportunity for governments and the private sector to engage with communities, use Sustainability-based models to drive economic changes, and create social and environmental impact.

Reported by Kinshu Kumar, Edited by Mehfil Mubarak