Texas to conduct statewide study of recycling economy

Dive Brief:

  • The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has selected Missouri-based consulting and engineering firm Burns & McDonnell to conduct a survey of the state's recycling efforts. Results will be included in the upcoming TCEQ report "Municipal Solid Waste in Texas: A Year in Review, 2016 Data Summary and Analysis."
  • This study will look at the success of current recycling programs and ways to increase diversion rates. It will also examine the economic state of the Texas recycling industry and look at potential for job creation. 
  • Burns & McDonnell is asking for 2015 data from processors and end users of recyclable material. Sensitive information will be protected and confidential. The survey will open on Aug. 15 and more information can be found here.

Dive Insight:

This study is the result of a 2015 state bill which sought to expand on previous studies by looking into current market conditions and other factors. The most recent data indicates that Texas' recycling rate is 18.9%. Those involved in the study have stressed the importance of business participation and say that the results will be used to help improve the state's recycling industry.

"This study will provide to policymakers the information they need to make educated decisions on recycling and materials management in Texas," said Sara Nichols, executive director of the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling, in Recycling Today.

Recycling programs have seen varying degrees of success across Texas in recent years. Austin reported a positive 42% diversion rate for 2015, but this was short of its 50% target and still far from the city's goal of "zero waste" by 2040. On the opposite end of the spectrum low recycling rates in San Angelo led Republic Services to raise the price of collection service earlier this year. Houston's program has also experienced economic issues lately which led to a reduction in glass collection.

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Filed Under: Recycling Waste Diversion