Texas to study economic impacts of recycling

Texas to study economic impacts of recycling

Burns & McDonnel to complete study as part of state legislation requirement.


The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has retained the consulting and engineering firm Burns & McDonnell, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, to conduct a statewide survey that seeks to quantify the amount of recycling occurring throughout Texas and assess the economic state of the recycling industry in Texas.

The study is the result of House Bill 2763, sponsored by Rep. Ed Thompson (R-Pearland) and Sen. José Rodríguez (D-El Paso), which requires the development of the study. The bill’s authors say the results will build on the efforts of prior recycling studies, but will also include more robust economic information, such as current market conditions and associated job creation.

Burns & McDonnell will work in partnership with the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) to complete and release the Texas Recycling Data Initiative (TRDI) in 2015. TRDI provided a benchmark recycling rate of 18.9 percent in Texas and established the methodology that the economic impact study will build on.

"As with TRDI, industry participation is paramount for this study to successfully provide updated information on recycling quantities, as well as important economic impact and market drivers," says Scott Pasternak, Burns & McDonnell senior project manager, and who is managing the study.

The survey, to launch Aug. 15, 2016, will focus on data from processors and end users of recyclables. Since the study will request recycling and economic data from private recycling companies, Burns & McDonnell say it will take every reasonable measure allowed by law to protect business-sensitive information and will have a confidentiality plan available for survey participants.

The study seeks to not only assess current recycling efforts but also identify methods to increase recycling, as well as funding methods to increase recycling and associated job creation and infrastructure needs that will result from a more robust materials recovery industry in Texas.

"This study will provide to policymakers the information they need to make educated decisions on recycling and materials management in Texas," says Sara Nichols, STAR executive director.

The survey will allow participants to report their recycling data for the 2015 calendar year in a confidential, online survey. The results will be included in the TCEQ report, Municipal Solid Waste in Texas: A Year in Review, 2016 Data Summary and Analysis.

For more information about the project, please visit www.txrecyclingstudy.org.