In a CleanTechnica article taken from The Beam, it is stated that:

As is often the case in developed markets, we only create one job for every 10,000 tons of goods produced

Thanks to Oddthinking, I understand that the author wants to say that only one job is needed to incinerate 10000 tons of waste.

Is this really a realistic figure? How can one job incinerate 10^7 kg of goods. (I suppose it implicitly says that such goods are produced in one year of work of a person.)

Given that a year has 31536000 seconds (~3*10^7) it must only take 3 seconds for a single person to incinerate one kg of goods.

Maybe the author meant in a lifetime?

Even that second estimate looks too high to me.

  • This question seems to be based on a simple misunderstanding of the claim. In context, it becomes clearer that the claim is that the incineration of 10,000 tons of goods "creates"/requires one job. Here another example of the claim. There is still a question of fact here, but it is unclear if that needs to be addressed.
    – Oddthinking
    May 7, 2017 at 16:43
  • @Oddthinking sorry,I misunderstood, anyhow I think the claim was misleading and easy to misunderstand. If possible I would still like to ask a question about how can only one person incinerate 10000 tons of goods
    – Caridorc
    May 7, 2017 at 18:03
  • 4
    It's not like the person is doing it all by hand. It only takes one person to operate the machinery necessary to incinerate 10000 tons of waste. I'm not sure what's incredulous about this. May 7, 2017 at 19:19
  • @ChrisHayes But what about the technicians to repair and maintain, the transporters of the material, the incinerator cannot alone handle the whole "end-of-life" cycle of all that waste. If you factor in other workers it should get a lower figure
    – Caridorc
    May 7, 2017 at 19:33
  • 2
    Sounds about right: the local waste-to-energy plant handles about 300,000 tons of trash a year, which would work out to 30 employees. Seems a bit low, but within the correct order of magnitude.
    – Mark
    May 8, 2017 at 1:57

1 Answer 1


In Sweden, they burn a lot of rubbish to produce heat or electricity.

From this 2015 SYSAV report, it looks like in one year they had a permanent staff of about 300 (294) and burned about 600,000 (569,700) tonnes.

So this is more like 1 person for every 2000 tonnes, about one fifth of that quoted. It may be a very top-heavy company where for one person who is actually working there are 4 people designing, managing or drinking coffee, but these are all jobs anyway.

  • And how this swedish report relates to the claim? It is but one example. May 8, 2017 at 14:31
  • 2
    This one sourced report is still one more than the original article gave. I know the interviewee was talking about the current world economy vs some "Circular Economy" which means whatever he wants it to. I also see the interviewee talks about number of jobs vs tons of produce which is retarded to begin with, Software weights nothing, and it also ignores value adding jobs such as, practically anything.
    – daniel
    May 8, 2017 at 15:46

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