July 24 - Report: Recycling is ‘Thriving Economic Engine’

An economic impact study just released by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) states that the recycling industry accounts for nearly half a million jobs in the United States, generating better than $87 billion each year.

At a time when the national job market is fragile, the recycling industry is creating high-quality, good-paying opportunities for Americans. This in turn feeds money back into the economy through spending and revenue generated from taxes," said ISRI President Robin Wiener in a press release.

The report says that the recycling industry is responsible for nearly half a million jobs, over 100,000 paying an average of $69,475 in wages and benefits. "Direct jobs" are related to processing scrap materials into new, usable commodities. "Indirect jobs" are related to providing machinery, equipment and services to the processors. The industry generates about $4 billion in state and local revenues annually.

According to the ISRI website, the U.S. scrap recycling industry grew from $54 billion in sales in 2009 to more than $90 billion in sales in 2012. The scrap recycling industry has been at the forefront of job creation despite a sluggish economy, adding more than 15,000 jobs to the economy since the beginning of 2010.

As California works to achieve the 75% recycling goal set in AB 341, it is poised to further drive the state’s economy and create up to 100,000 green jobs. A report released by CalRecycle in April says of the jobs created, 55,000 will result from collection and processing and the remaining 44,000 jobs will come from increased manufacturing. Approximately 25,000 jobs will be created in the paper, plastic, and lumber and inert materials sectors, and about 14,000 jobs will be created in organics recycling, a material that is not exported overseas.

CAW supports three bills this session that will expand the market for recycled materials:

AB 513 (Frazier) will expand the market for recycled tires by increasing the amount of funding available through the Rubberized Pavement Grant Program.

AB 1021 (Eggman) provides sales tax exemptions on equipment purchases to businesses that process recycled feedstock.

AB 1022 (Eggman) expands the market for CRT glass by providing incentives for recyclers to remove the lead from the glass and then manufacturer payments to those who use the recycled glass in their products.


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