Recycling Industry Jobs in North Carolina Increase

North Carolina has more than 17,000 direct private sector recycling jobs.

November 25, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Municipal / IC&I

A study by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) finds that private sector recycling jobs in the state have increased by close to 12 percent since 2010 as recycling businesses in the state continue to grow and thrive.

“Recycling is an important initiative to support manufacturers and reduce our long-term dependence on landfills,” says Gov. 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 contribution of recycling to the state’s economic growth.

The study’s major findings include:

  • North Carolina has more than 17,000 direct private sector recycling-related jobs.
  • Private sector recycling jobs have increased by almost 12 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 2.3 million 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,” says John Skvarla, secretary of the state’s DENR. “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.”

A copy of the study can be found online. To see which businesses are in the state’s Recycling Markets Directory, visit