Published On: Wed, Nov 17th, 2010

Illinois State Agency Releases Study on Economic Impact of Recycling

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has released an economic study highlighting the impact that the recycling industry has on the state.


The report finds that the recycling and reuse industry directly employs 40,000 people in 2,173 recycling and recycling-related businesses. The businesses include municipal and private collection programs, MRFs, brokers, reuse operations, remanufacturers and manufacturers of recycled-content products.

The study also finds that an additional 34,000 jobs are indirectly tied to recycling, while 37,500 additional jobs are induced by the industry, bringing the total number of jobs that come from the recycling sector to 110,500 with a payroll of $3.6 billion.

Indirect jobs are those created in companies that supply the recycling sector, while induced jobs are created when workers in the direct and indirect jobs spend their earnings on goods and services.

In a release announcing the report, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, says, “Recycling really is the original ‘green’ industry, and this report proves that it is a vital sector of the Illinois economy. Everyone knows recycling is good for the environment, but it is creating jobs right here in Illinois and putting people to work in an important, growing field.”

“This report shows that the efforts by DCEO’s Division of Recycling and Waste Reduction are paying big dividends for the Illinois economy, as well as for our environment,” says Warren Ribley, DCEO’s director. “Recycling and reuse helps industry by replacing materials often mined and manufactured outside of the state with materials collected and processed within Illinois. As we step up our efforts to keep Illinois on the cutting edge of the green jobs revolution, these data will guide the efforts of state and local governments as well as the entrepreneurs who are seizing the opportunities in the recycling sector.”

The report was prepared for DCEO’s Division of Recycling and Waste Reduction by DSM Environmental through a grant to the Illinois Recycling Association. The agency says that it is the first comprehensive study of the industry in Illinois since 2001.

The study finds that the recycling and reuse industry has direct gross receipts of $17.1 billion. The economic sectors that include indirect and induced jobs have gross receipts of $7.1 billion and $6.1 billion respectively, bringing the total gross receipts to $30.1 billion.

“This Recycling Economic Impact study proves the recycling, remanufacture and reuse industries are a win-win for the economy of the State of Illinois by, among other things, creating jobs and preserving the environment,” says Paul Jacquet, president of the Illinois Recycling Association. “The recycling industry is continuing to grow in many areas with new and expanding curbside collection programs, more electronics recycling and the rapidly expanding composting industry.”

DCEO’s Division of Recycling and Waste Reduction provides technical assistance and access to capital for projects involving source reduction, waste reduction, recycling and reuse. DCEO’s efforts help the Illinois recycling industry continue to expand, enhancing statewide economic growth while helping Illinois businesses, schools, local governments and not-for-profit organizations advance their waste reduction and recycling initiatives.

DCEO administers four core recycling and waste reduction programs: the Illinois Recycling Grants Program, the Recycling Expansion and Modernization Program, the Food Scrap Composting Revitalization & Advancement Program and the Zero Waste Schools Grant Program.


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