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Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling Completed

Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 — Million tons of MSW Recycled in 2015
ContactBrian McGovern
After Hrs512-839-1142

The TCEQ has released the completed Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling.  The study was required by House Bill 2763 Exit the TCEQ, 84th Legislature.

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 tons 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 also 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. The overall impact of recycling MSW on the Texas economy exceeded $3.3 billion.

“The TCEQ appreciates the diverse consortium of governmental and trade group representatives that supported the study,” said TCEQ Executive Director Richard Hyde.  “They helped to increase survey participation among their professional networks, which ensured we had high-quality data for the study.”

The TCEQ retained Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc., through a competitive bidding process, to complete the study.

“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. The study strongly connects how recycling efforts in Texas are generating economic opportunities across the state now and into the future” said Scott Pasternak, Project Manager for Burns & McDonnell. 

"I'm pleased with the results of this study showing the economic importance of recycling," said Representative Ed Thompson (R-Pearland), author of HB 2763. "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."

"It's clear industry was hungry for reliable data to demonstrate that existing recycling efforts across Texas, on top of providing a valuable environmental service, are also massive economic drivers for the state," said Senator José R. Rodríguez (D-El Paso), who sponsored HB 2763 in the Texas Senate.  "The final report does a tremendous job of validating that recycling is a booming, highly-motivated industry keeping millions of tons of material out of our landfills while also producing tens of thousands of well-paid jobs and billions of dollars in economic output.  No doubt the report will also prove invaluable to current recyclers as a resource for identifying development opportunities and funding models, and learning from best practices across Texas. What's more, the report compellingly predicts opportunity for even more economic growth by focusing public and private investment toward recycling."

The study is available at: www.TXRecyclingStudy.org