Study Finds Job Opportunities through Recycling in Indiana

A university study claims an additional 10,000 jobs could be created by boosting recycling in Indiana.

December 10, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Municipal / IC&I
A study conducted by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University, Muncie, Ind., finds that the recycling industry in Indiana is an underutilized source for jobs. And, the study notes, an incremental increase in recycling in the state could create 10,000 new jobs.

The study, titled The untapped job potential of Indiana's recycling industry, claims that two-thirds of the material disposed of in the state could be recovered as a raw material by manufacturers. An additional 17 percent of the waste cold be composted, the study adds.

“It’s a simple matter of economics,” says Carey Hamilton, executive director of the Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC), which commissioned the study. “Indiana manufacturers want more recyclable materials because they save significantly on energy costs when they use recycled materials rather than raw materials. The resources are available right here in Indiana. And recycling creates more jobs.”

The challenge, the study notes, is that the state lacks the public policy that will transform its waste management system into a resource recovery system—making recycling accessible and convenient for residents of the state.

Hamilton says the IRC plans to work with the Indiana State Legislature to reinstate the existing recycling grant fund as well as to pursue policies that support recycling infrastructure and education as a means to increase recycling.

“Indiana has a relatively low recycling rate and a relatively strong in-state demand from our commodity manufacturing sector,” says Hamilton. “If we don’t take advantage of this, we’re virtually burying jobs in landfills.”

The study identified 77 manufacturers in Indiana that use recycled feedstock. These manufacturers are located in all corners of the state.

To view the study, click here.