- Recycling Economic Impact Study
The potentially positive environmental impacts of a well-designed recycling program are clear, but when the State of Texas wanted to understand current and potential economic effects of municipal solid waste recycling programs, an in-depth approach was needed.
Designing a study that provides insight on quantities of material recycled, economic impacts and market development opportunities.
In 2015, the 84th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2763, calling for the creation of a Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling. Building on the efforts of past recycling studies, the new study would focus specifically on the economic benefits of the recycling industry in Texas and provide information to policymakers to inform future economic and environmental development.
Through a partnership with the Lone Star Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America, the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) released the Texas Recycling Data Initiative (TRDI) in February 2015. This new study provided a point of reference for gauging recycling activity in Texas, including methodologies for gathering economic and job information.
Our team was retained by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to work alongside STAR on the development of a study that would build upon information gathered in the TRDI and other regional studies. The study would need to collect data from recycling processors and the end markets responsible for handling Texans’ recyclable material.
In accordance with House Bill 2763, the study would also need to provide more information on key topics for the Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling, including:
- Current recycling efforts
- Methods to develop new markets and businesses
- Funding methods
- Job creation
- Infrastructure needs
The partnership’s resulting survey, conducted between Aug. 15 and Oct. 31, 2016, was hosted online, allowing respondents to complete a questionnaire for each of their facilities. Each participant was asked to provide a facility description and the amount of material processed or used, as well as economic and market information.
Among the many metrics collected throughout the survey, the results of the study provided definitive evidence for a wide range of rural recycling opportunities throughout Texas. Additionally, recycling infrastructure needs, funding mechanisms for recycling programs and opportunities for programs in cities and regions studied were identified. These findings will inform years of infrastructure improvement projects for state and local governments.