Recyclers in Texas collected and diverted 9.2 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2015, a haul worth an estimated $702 million, according to a comprehensive study of municipal solid waste recycling conducted for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

TCEQ recently released its Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling, a 118-page document completed this summer by Burns & McDonnell. The study examined current recycling methods, marketing campaigns, ongoing programs and other efforts statewide, compiling information about job creation and potential economic opportunities.

The study includes detailed recycling data collected from municipalities, private operators and others who divert paper, plastics, metal, glass, organics, construction debris and other materials. Scott Pasternak, who conducted the study for TCEQ, will review results and conclusions during a free webinar from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Central) on America Recycles Day, which is Wednesday, Nov. 15. “Our vision for this study was for it to serve as a resource to help communities and businesses across Texas better understand the economic impacts of recycling in Texas,” says Pasternak, a project manager for Burns & McDonnell in Austin. “The study strongly connects how recycling efforts in Texas are generating economic opportunities across the state, now and into the future.”

Among economic benefits generated for the state by municipal solid waste recycling in 2015, according to the study:
·      More than 17,000 person years of direct, indirect and induced employment supported.
·      An overall impact on the Texas economy exceeding $3.3 billion.

Texas Rep. Ed Thompson, R-Pearland, reports being pleased with the results. He wrote the bill that became law in 2015, ordering the study. “I’m pleased with the results of this study showing the economic importance of recycling,” Thompson tells TCEQ. “The study shows that not only is recycling beneficial for the environment by saving space in landfills, but it also plays a positive role in the Texas economy. I’m proud that this study is able to bring more attention to these issues and educate people on the constructive impacts of recycling.”

During Wednesday’s webinar, Pasternak plans to discuss these and other topics:
·      Overall economic impact of the recycling industry in Texas.
·      Methods to increase recycling in Texas, such as the development of new markets for recycled materials and new businesses that may result from increased recycling.
·      Funding methods to increase recycling.
·      Job creation from recycling, as well as potential job creation that will result from increased recycling.
·      Infrastructure needs and opportunities for rural and underserved areas.

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