Recycling means big bucks for South Carolina

Posted on June 25, 2014 

FILE PHOTO: Richland County recycle bin.

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

A new study shows that the recycling industry has a $13 billion impact on South Carolina’s economy.

A study by the College of Charleston showed that the impact of the recycling industry doubled from $6.5 billion in 2006 to $13 billion last year.

Professor Frank Hefner says the number of companies dealing with recycling in South Carolina increased from 340 in 2006 to 524 this year.

The study focused on businesses that make a profit by recycling their own materials or materials from other businesses. It did not consider residential recycling or municipal solid waste.

Hefner said there were about 15,000 jobs directly related to recycling in 2005. Last year, he said there were 22,000 jobs in the industry.

A report on recycling in South Carolina last year showed that people threw away nearly 450,000 tons of recyclable materials in 2013.

Local governments spent as much as $17.5 million to deposit those materials in landfills.

The report said local governments reported making $9 million off the sale of recycling but could have made another $60 million if recycled materials thrown out with the trash had been sold to some of the state’s recycling-related businesses.

The report said local agencies spent $330 million to collect and dispose of trash last year, but saved $53 million in avoided costs by recycling, according to the state report.

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