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EPA Study Shows Economic Boost From Recycling

Release Date: 2/13/2002
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – An EPA-commissioned study shows that recycling provides widespread benefits to the U.S. economy. According to the recently published U.S. recycling economic information study, the U.S. recycling and reuse industry supports more than 56,000 businesses and non-profit organizations that gross more than $236 billion in annual revenues and employ more than 1.1 million people with an annual payroll of nearly $37 billion.

“This study provides public and private decision makers with the a clear picture of the significant contributions made by reuse and recycling. It also confirms what many people have intuitively sensed for some time - - recycling is good for the environment and the economy,” said mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh.

The study shows that recycling is working across America, from the local cities and towns that collect household recyclables to the large scale businesses that manufacture state-of-the-art recycled-content products.

This study satisfies a longstanding need for economic data that measures the important economic contribution of recycling and reuse. Recycling contributes 2.7 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. The direct impact from jobs and sales make up 0.7 percent of that figure. The other 2 percent comes from the indirect impact of the employees in the industry.

These new data also reinforce the well-established environmental benefits of recycling and reuse, such as cutting pollution, conserving natural resources, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The landmark study was commissioned by EPA and 14 states through a cooperative agreement with the National Recycling Coalition. This study includes state-specific analysis for two mid-Atlantic states, Pennsylvania and Delaware. For more information about this national report, contact Gordon Hui at 703-308-9037 or visit the EPA Jobs Through Recycling web site at:

The National Recycling Coalition also has information available at The Northeast Recycling Council, who participated in gathering the results of the study, has the complete report at and study highlights at