The National Recycling Economic Information Study Updated
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency is celebrating America Recycles Day by releasing the updated national Recycling Economic Information Study. The study breaks down and analyzes wages, tax revenue and jobs that can be attributed to recycling.
Recycling is an integral facet of what is known as Sustainable Materials Management (SMM), a systematic method of using and reusing materials throughout their entire life cycles. SMM has reshaped the recycling industry landscape by focusing on environmental protection and efficient use of raw materials. According to the EPA, in the United States, recycling and reuse activities accounted for 757,000 jobs, produced $36.6 billion in wages and generated $6.7 billion in tax revenues in 2007. The EPA estimates that this equates to 1.57 jobs for every 1,000 tons of materials recycled.
The national recycling rate has more than quadrupled from 7 to 34 percent since 1976. The slogan recycle, reuse, reduce has become a household phrase encouraging every American to close the loop by using the recycling bin. The EPA notes that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts global demands for materials will increase by more than 35 percent over the next 15 years, reaching 100 billion metric tons per year. With more than half of all industrial raw material inputs being returned to the environment within a year as waste, the EPA stresses more than ever before the benefits of advancing a circular economy.
In recognition of the benefits of recycling and in honor of America Recycles Day, President Obama signed a proclamation celebrating how far our nation has come and to urge all Americans to recycle, reuse and reduce.