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.
- It supports more than 60 thousand jobs in our state
Recycling gets Minnesota's economy moving:
- Almost $3.4 billion in employee wages and salary disbursements
- Adds nearly $15.7 billion to Minnesota's economy
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. Minnesotans are still throwing away more than 850,000 million tons of recyclables with an estimated value of $153 million.