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The recycling industry: Economic impact, Central Texas' profit motive

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 14, 2021

Texas is one of the most wasteful states in the nation, according to a report from Environment Texas.

But with major cities like Austin and Plano actually exceeding the national average for waste reduction. . . there is hope; and Central Texas should be driven by the profit motive.

Economic impact

Recycling has provided Texas over $3 billion to the state economy annually, over $195 million in local and state taxes annually, and the creation of approximately 17,000 jobs, according to a study on the economic impacts of recycling.

The study was required by House Bill 2763 of the 84th Legislature, and gave insight into recycling costs, value, and quality to provide a basis on why recycling should be increased in Texas.


Based on the table above, after looking at the average commodity market for recyclables and other materials - the study calculated that Texas recycled $702 million in materials in 2015 alone.

Cities like Austin who are already exceeding recycling efforts in the nation, are studying the industry's economic impact in hopes of further increasing it's role in their local economy. . . Central Texas can reap the same rewards.


Cost of long-term foreign alliance

In 2017 China banned a majority of scrap materials and created a strict contamination rate of 0.5 percent, according to the National Waste and Recycling Association, with the National Sword policy.

In 2013 the average rate of contaminated material in Texas was 13 percent, according to the Texas Recycling Data Initiative.

China had been a major destination for U.S. recyclables, and the disruption caused an increase in service costs, decreased revenue, and forced some collectors to go out of business.

However, Texas saw the loss of foreign reliance as an opportunity. The State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) made strides to have the state fund a recycling market development plan, and successfully passed SB 649 to fill in the gaps and lead the U.S. in domestic recycling.

How can the Central Texas profit from the industry?

New windows of opportunity are open to individuals, businesses, and local economies. In Central Texas, local organizations like the Waco Sustainable Resource Practices Advisory Board have begun encouraging restaurants and bars to contribute.

Central Texas has the opportunity to develop a strong recycling economy that will yield high profits, with the help of local businesses and individuals.

There is work to be done on the ground, with the need for expanded collection, sorting, and end-market solutions, as listed by TCEQ. But Texans can keep the industry moving by increasing the volume of materials they provide.

For more more education on recycling and waste reduction visit

And for local recycling programs in your area visit TCEQ, so Central Texas cities can better contribute to the list below.

Environment Texas