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State study shows increase in private sector's recycling jobs and businesses


RALEIGH – Recycling jobs in North Carolina’s private sector have increased by nearly 12 percent since 2010 as recycling businesses in the Tar Heel State continue to grow and thrive, according to a study released today by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“Recycling is an important initiative to support manufacturers and reduce our long-term dependence on landfills,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “The continued, strong growth of recycling as an economic sector validates its value to our environment and its importance to our economy as a generator of jobs.”

The research, conducted by DENR’s Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service, is the latest in a series of studies spanning nearly two decades demonstrating the ongoing contribution of recycling to the state’s economic growth. Results published in 1994, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2010 and this year show increases in recycling employment in North Carolina over time.

The study’s major findings include:

  • There are more than 17,000 directprivate sectorrecycling-related jobs in North Carolina.
  • Private sector recycling jobs have increased by 11.95 percent since 2010.
  • The total estimated annual payroll for North Carolina recycling businesses is $442 million.
  • Forty-five percent of recycling businesses surveyed anticipate creating more jobs during the next two years.
  • Eighty-one recycling businesses reported spending $79.6 million in equipment, facilities and land investments from 2011-13.
  • Fifty-one percent of recycling businesses surveyed plan on investing $47.3 million in equipment, facilities or land in the next two years.
  • Twenty-eight percent of businesses surveyed report manufacturing a product using a combined 2,264,565 tons of recycled materials.
  • Recycling businesses target a wide variety of recyclables for collection, processing or use in manufacturing. No single commodity dominates the state’s recycling economy.

“This study shows that North Carolina’s recycling businesses are thriving, creating jobs, and investing for the long-term,” said John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “By participating in recycling at home, at work, and on-the-go, North Carolinians help us grow the economy while protecting the state’s environment.”

North Carolina-based recycling businesses listed in the state’s online Recycling Markets Directory received an email invitation to participate in the 2013 Recycling Business employment study update. Additional recycling employment data from the N.C. Employment Security Commission was included in the study for recycling-related businesses not listed in the Recycling Markets Directory.

A copy of the study can be found online at . To see which businesses are in the state’s Recycling Markets Directory, go to the following link on DENR’s website, .

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