Recycling might just be the answer.
Recycling is a unique industry that cannot be easily automated (input streams are highly variable, the process requires human judgment, manual sorting, etc); nor can it be easily off-shored (all the raw materials for the process - i.e. our throw-aways - are "locally produced").
Most importantly, the industry can utilize unskilled labor for many of its tasks. If a recycling facility were to have a social worker on staff, they could work with job-training and rehabilitation programs; perhaps bussing people from strategic locations, like shelters or food pantries. Creating a productive and stable work environment is the best therapy that society can prescribe for many individuals, and the recycling facility could offset the cost of the social program with government grants, as well as bolstered PR and public goodwill.
The sorting, binning, and loading-type work would easily lend itself to a merit-tracking system, where workers would start with limited pay and privileges and prove themselves over time by their performance in order to advance in the job program and in the organization.
And on top of it all, the result of the work is recycled materials, contributing to a more sustainable Earth!
CATEGORY: Social / Environmental / Business Idea
IDEATION: Sep 15, 2009