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Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

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Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG)

There are three stages to recycling:

  1. Collecting recyclable materials;
  2. Manufacturing recycled-content products; and
  3. Selling those products.

Market development means fostering businesses that manufacture and market recycled-content products and strengthening consumer demand for those products. Market development can include, for example, expanding the processing and remanufacturing capacity of recycling businesses to handle the increasing volume of collected recyclables.

What is the connection between jobs and recycling?

Across America, more individuals, organizations, businesses, and government agencies are collecting materials for recycling than ever before. The number of curbside recycling programs has grown 500 percent over the past five years. In fact, recycling is now helping to recover more than one quarter of all waste generated in the United States. But keeping valuable resources out of landfills is only part of the recycling story. Recycling also creates new businesses that haul, process, and broker recovered materials, as well as companies that manufacture and distribute products made with recycled content. These recycling businesses put people to work.

Recycling is estimated to create nearly five times as many jobs as landfilling. One study reported that 103,000 jobs, or 2.7 percent of all manufacturing jobs in the Northeast region of the United States, are attributed to recycling. The jobs created by recycling businesses draw from the full spectrum of the labor market (ranging from low- and semi-skilled jobs to highly skilled jobs). Materials sorters, dispatchers, truck drivers, brokers, sales representatives, process engineers, and chemists are just some of the jobs needed in the recycling industry. Recycling is actively contributing to America’s economic vitality.

Additional information on the connection between jobs and recycling is offered in EPA’s Recycling Means Business (PDF) (20 pp, 1.7MB, about PDF)publication.

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I am developing a recycled-content product. Where can I find help getting it into production?

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What is the most effective method of approaching the financial community?

Effective strategies include roundtable discussions, seminars and presentations to local/state financial trade organizations, partnering with a seed capital organization, and others. For more information on financial assistance, see the Financing page.

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Why are recycling markets a crucial piece of the recycling puzzle?

Often symbolized by the chasing arrows logo, all three components of the recycling process must work effectively in order to close the recycling loop. The three arrows represent separating and collecting recyclable materials, manufacturing recycled-content products, and buying recycled-content products.

Creating markets for recycled materials—the third arrow—is critical to the success of the recycling process. Without a strong market for recycled materials, there is no incentive to collect recyclables and manufacture recycled-content products. For expanded information about recycling markets and recycling processes, see the Common Wastes and Materials pages.

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