You might be surprised to know that the recycling manufacturing and reuse/repair/rental sectors account for a significant amount of jobs in Minnesota. In fact, the recycling, manufacturing, and reuse/rental sectors account for 138,000 jobs and 6% of Minnesota’s economy. Of this 138,000 total jobs, 63,500 people employed in directly in jobs in the recycling, manufacturing and reuse/repair/rental sectors. These jobs, in turn, supported another 74,500 people downstream in indirect and induced jobs. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency new Solid Waste Policy Report shows how these sectors add up to be a force in the growing green economy.
Over the last 15 years, Minnesota has thrown away more than 20 million tons of recyclables worth more than $2 billion. These materials could have been used in products we make and use right here. When you recycle, you contribute to Minnesota's economy and manufacturing jobs. Don't throw away a job with your garbage. Recycling more at your home or business will help Minnesota's economy.
Examples of companies in the reuse/repair/rental sectors
- Relan in Mendota Heights uses old billboards and banners to make totes and bags. There is nothing going to waste because they take things that other companies are tossing and put them back into the business cycle.
- Vibrant buys and sells used IT hardware to over 10,000 customers in 60+ countries. When a business decides that it no longer needs a server or networking equipment Vibrant keeps it out of the waste stream by refurbishing and selling these products to other businesses.
Examples of companies using recycled material to make products
- WestRock (formerly known as Rock Tenn) in St. Paul is the largest of user of recycled paper and cardboard in Minnesota. Every day WestRock uses 2 million pounds of old paper and cardboard boxes to make new food boxes and new cardboard boxes. That's 726 million pounds of waste paper per year getting made into new products.
- Gerdau Ameristeel in South St. Paul uses steel recovered from autos, appliances, and steel cans to make steel rebar that is used in bridges and other building projects. The most recent project is the new Stillwater Bridge.
Other examples of recycled products manufactured in Minnesota: Steel rebar, recycled copy paper, plastic lumber and decking, egg cartons, cereal boxes, composite-lumber windows, paper products, and parts made from recycled plastic buckets.
Read the report
As the population of Minnesota grows, and the economy continues to improve, we will need new and innovative ways of managing materials. The state is evaluating whether sustainable material management (SMM) is effective. This approach looks at using materials based on highest and best use of material both economically and environmentally,
For the full report: 2015 Solid Waste Policy Report (lrw-sw-1sy15)