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Man standing by large roll of new brown paper produced from recycled paper and cardboard.

Recycling materials into new products benefits both our environment and our economy. Approximately 78,000 jobs in Minnesota are directly or indirectly supported by the recycling industry. These jobs pay almost $7.96 billion in wages and add nearly $23.9 billion to Minnesota's economy. Recycling also slows the filling of landfills.

Recycling generates profit. In Minnesota, recycling programs collected approximately 1.781 million tons of material worth $344 million.

Not recycling costs money. In 2021, a million tons of recyclable material was thrown away but could have been recycled for an additional estimated value of $142.1 million. Instead, it cost Minnesotans millions of dollars to put it in landfills.

Recycling saves energy. It takes 90% less energy to make a can from recycled aluminum compared to virgin material. Recycled glass? About 50% less energy. Recycled paper? About 75% less energy (and 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution). Lower energy use means reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycling beverage containers

At the request of the Minnesota Legislature, the MPCA prepared a report in 2014 on how to increase recycling of beverage containers. The report outlines a statewide recycling refund program and its potential financial impacts.

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