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Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling

The TCEQ conducted a study on the current and potential economic impacts of recycling, including state and local revenue that may be considered lost because recyclable materials are not recycled.

Map of Texas with a dollar sign and wrapped in arrows

About the Study

The TCEQ hired Burns & McDonnell to conduct a study on the current economic impacts of recycling materials from municipal solid waste (MSW) streams in Texas.

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 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.

H.B. 2763

This Study was required by House Bill 2763 of the 84th Legislature, relating to a study of the current and potential economic impacts of recycling. You can find the exact text of the bill here.

The Survey

Similar to the TRDI Study (See link to the TRDI below in Related Content), the survey was hosted on the Re-TRAC platform. Respondents were able to complete the survey for each of their facilities, and if they had multiple facilities they were able to report them in aggregate. As part of the survey, respondents were asked for a facility description, the amount of MSW recycled material processed or used by the facility, economic questions, market questions, and a few additional open ended questions.

The Survey was conducted from August 15th - October 31st, 2016.

Materials Included in the Survey:

The study will cover an increased scope of materials as listed below.

  • Plastics (PET #1, HDPE #2, Plastics #3-7)
  • Organics (Green Waste, Food and Beverage, Biosolids)
  • Metals (Ferrous and Non-ferrous)
  • Paper (Mixed, Old Corrugated Containers, Other Paper)
  • Glass (Containers, Other Glass)
  • Construction and Demolition Debris
  • Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
  • Electronics
  • Tires
  • Textiles
  • Other Materials


The Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling requested recycling and economic data from private recycling companies. Business sensitive information will be protected by every reasonable measure allowable by law.

Industry Support

The Study was built off the methodologies of previous recycling studies by engaging key industry stakeholders during the project through a voluntary Recycling Industry Committee (RIC). The RIC was a diverse consortium of state and national trade groups and commodity representatives working with the TCEQ and the Project Team to help with targeted outreach to increase survey participation among respondents in their networks.

Recycling Industry Committee:
For a complete list of organizations participating in the Recycling Industry Committee, see the RIC.

News and Social Media

You can view the news release about the survey.

Get e-mail or text updates on your choice of topics Subscribe to the Recycling topic under the Waste Management, Reduction, and Recycling category for updates.

Twitter logo Follow TCEQ's public Twitter account for updates.

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Related Content

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. To support these activities, the TCEQ collects and compiles data on the processing and disposal of municipal solid waste. 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

North Central Texas Council of Governments Source Reduction and Recycling Studies

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.

Stakeholder Input Meeting

A Stakeholder Input Meeting was held on September 10, 2015. The Agency received input on items which need to be considered in conducting the survey as instructed by House Bill 2763. If you were unable to attend or have additional comments you may submit them at any time by contacting us at