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Ball State study: Increasing recycling would put more Hoosiers to work - December 12 2013

If Indiana increased its recycling by even 25 percent, it could result in the creation of as many as 10,000 new jobs in the state, according to a report released from Ball State University’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs.

At least 83 percent of what Hoosiers now throw out could be recovered, recycled, reused or composted, the report said. Indiana manufacturers could use two-thirds of discarded waste as raw material, while 17 percent of it could be used as compost.

The Indiana Recycling Coalition commissioned the study with the aim of pointing out the value of recovering these resources to preserve the environment and also to create more jobs in the state.

The jobs would come from collecting, sorting and processing recyclable and compostable materials, which, according to the report, creates, on average, 10 times the number of jobs created by the processes of collecting, maintaining landfills and incinerating discarded waste.

“It’s a simple matter of economics,” Carey Hamilton, executive director of the Indiana Recycling Coalition, said. “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.”

Hamilton said that the problem is that Indiana lacks the public policy to transform its waste management system into a resource recovery system that would make recycling accessible and convenient. The coalition plans to work with the state Legislature to reinstate the existing recycling grant and 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,” Hamilton said. “If we don’t take advantage of this, we’re virtually burying jobs in landfills.”

Full copy of the report: Ball State Recycling Report

Source: Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly--12/12/2013

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