In the coming year, we are hoping for new industries to support our local economy with manufacturing that is innovative and sustainable, adding jobs without placing an environmental burden on the natural resources.  Green industries may be defined as having some or all of these attributes:

  • sustainably produced inputs;
  • minimal use of virgin raw materials;
  • production processes that minimize the use of water, energy, and materials;
  • production processes free from harmful toxins;
  • reuse and recycling of solid waste streams;
  • substantial reductions in emissions or effluents of harmful greenhouse gases and pollutants; and
  • products that are built for longevity and durability.

Desirable industry targets include several categories: construction materials; consumer goods and packaging; energy and transport; agriculture and water.

Construction Materials:

  • Aerogel lightweight insulation solids
  • Composite lumber, shingles, and roofing tiles
  • Fiberglass insulation

Consumer goods and packaging:

  • Biodegradable foodservice packaging
  • Fiber recovery: cardboard and paper products
  • Textile recovery: cloth, insulation, carpet padding, or sound-proofing
  • Glass Bottle recovery: sanitise and reuse, don’t remake
  • e-waste recycler: sorting and recovery
  • Plastic film recycler: plastic bags, commercial packaging, and wraps

Energy and Transport:

  • Solar panels
  • Fuel cells
  • Lithium ion and other batteries

Agriculture and Water:

  • Plant materials for coastal restoration and riparian buffers
  • Aquaculture stocks to repopulate Gulf marine life
  • Rainwater harvest systems and storage
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures
  • “Smart” monitors and leak detection systems

Why is industry important to local economies?  Although more jobs are in service industries, America is still a leading manufacturer: one of every 11 jobs is in a factory, and manufacturing remains the largest sector in the U.S. economy.  Manufacturing companies account for about 77% of what the private sector spends on Research and Development each year – this is especially important when industry is in proximity to federal clusters of innovation such as NASA and military bases.[i]  The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that every $1.00 spent in manufacturing adds an additional $1.81 to the economy, and much of that remains local.  These are all good reasons to place green industry on your community’s wishlist for the coming year!

[i] http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-manufacturing-dead-output-has-doubled-in-three-decades-2016-03-28