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Economic Impacts of Recycling in Texas
According to a study financed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the overall impact of recycling municipal solid waste on the Texas economy exceeded $3.3 billion in 2015! Yes, that’s billion with a ‘B’.
The TCEQ hired Burns & McDonnell to conduct a study on the current economic impacts of recycling materials from municipal solid waste streams in Texas. Their final report was released July 2017. This study was required by House Bill 2763, 84th Legislature, relating to a study of the current and potential economic impacts of recycling.
According to the study, approximately 9.2 million tons of municipal solid waste designated material were recycled in Texas in 2015. Typical recyclables (paper, plastics, metal, and glass), organics (yard trimmings, brush, green waste, and food and beverage materials), and construction and demolition materials accounted for 8.7 million tons, or 94.4 percent of the total recycled materials in Texas. Based on an average commodity market for typical recyclables, organics, and C&D materials, $702 million in materials were recycled in Texas in 2015.
Based on the tons of municipal solid waste recycling reported for this study, the 2015 recycling rate for municipal solid waste in Texas was 22.7 percent.
The study found that the recycling of municipal solid waste creates economic benefits for the Texas economy, with more than 17,000 person years of direct, indirect, and induced employment supported during 2015. It was also estimated that the recycling industry generated more than $194.3 million in public revenue.
The study projected that a 40 percent increase in recycling of municipal solid waste statewide could add almost 6,800 additional jobs to the Texas economy. This projection provides a solid argument for aggressively increasing recycling statewide.
Additional Texas Recycling Reports
Annual Summary of Municipal Solid Waste Management in Texas: The TCEQ is responsible for data assessment and planning for the management of solid wastes in Texas. Owners and operators of municipal solid waste landfills and other waste management facilities submit an annual report to the TCEQ each fiscal year detailing the amount and types of solid waste managed at each facility. The data are compiled and published in an annual summary report titled Municipal Solid Waste in Texas: A Year in Review (TCEQ publication AS-187).
STAR Texas Recycling Data Initiative: The Texas Recycling Data Initiative, led by a partnership of the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling and the Lone Star Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America, seeks to quantify material availability for market and infrastructure development and resource planning and management. The initiative also aims to identify recycling industry-associated job creation. This information is important to better understand the economic, environmental, and policy issues facing Texas businesses, citizens, and governmental agencies.
North Central Texas Council of Governments Source Reduction and Recycling Studies: The North Central Texas Council of Governments is responsible for regional solid waste management planning in the North Central Texas Region. Their website contains several informative reports covering the North Central Texas.
The Current and Potential Economic Impacts of Austin Recycling and Reuse Related Activity: The City of Austin commissioned TXP, Inc. to evaluate the recycling and reuse sectors’ economic impact, provide a better understanding of the current impact of recycling, and estimate the magnitude of the opportunity to increase its role in the local economy.
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