Recycling is increasingly valuable to the economy. What was once thought to be worthless – waste material – now has substantial value. For example, making a new aluminum can from recycled aluminum cans uses 95% less energy than using virgin materials. In addition, the companies that work in recycling have been increasing over time, and these companies provide jobs and contribute to Minnesota’s economic health.
- Jobs at recycling manufacturing companies numbered over 15,000 in 2011.
- Total job activity associated with recycling manufacturing was almost 37,000 (including downstream jobs that provide goods and services to recycling manufacturers).
Recycling gets Minnesota's economy moving:
- $8.5 billion total gross economic activity associated with recycling manufacturers.
- Almost $2 billion in employee wages and salary disbursements.
- Approximately $270 million in state and local tax revenue paid through state income taxes (business and personal), sales tax, excise tax, and other miscellaneous taxes .
Every year, Minnesotans recycle enough to conserve over 5 million trees, save about enough energy to power all the homes in Ramsey County for one year, and reduce greenhouse gases equivalent to taking more than 1.3 million cars off the road.
Businesses and programs using recycled material
There are almost 200 businesses in Minnesota that use recycled material to manufacture products.
- Gerdau Ameristeel (South St. Paul) makes steel rebar from recycled material. In fact, 7 million pounds of rebar from this company was used in the construction of the new 35W bridge.
- Boise (International Falls) makes recycled copy paper.
- Master Mark (Paynesville) manufactures plastic lumber from recycled milk jugs.
- Anchor Glass (Shakopee) makes new glass bottles from recycled glass bottles. In fact, glass is infinitely recyclable.
Recycling manufacturers like these are always looking for locally sourced material so they don’t have to import from outside of the state. Minnesota recycling programs collected material worth almost $700 million (as of March 2011), yet we still threw away 1.2 million tons of recyclables worth $285 million and spent $200 million to dispose of it!
For more information
Governor Dayton proclaimed Thursday, Nov. 15, “Minnesota Recycles Day” to recognize the importance of recycling to the environment and the economy in Minnesota. Read the press release.
For more information on the economic activity associated with Minnesota’s recycling manufacturers, call Wayne Gjerde at 651-757-2392, toll-free at 800-657-3864, or visit Market development innovations