Recycling is typically an afterthought for many, something to take part in when convenient, which causes recycling rates to fluctuate each year. The EPA has released its National Recycling Strategy, a plan to boost recycling rates by 2030. Apart from federal guidance, work has already begun at state and local levels.
Prepared by Burns & McDonnell, the Texas Recycling Market Development Plan explores feedstock available in private and public sectors. The RMDP also details opportunity cost, and the economic impacts of recycling materials not currently being recycled. Building on previous studies completed including the 2017 study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling (SEIR), the RMDP details several facets, including tonnage materials and commodity-specific market conditions, barriers, opportunities, and strategies.
The Texas RMDP was developed using a two-pronged approach for the strategies used in the report, and provides six recommendations for recycling market development. One recommendation is to establish a nonprofit Texas Recycling Market Development Center (TxRMDC) located at a university. According to Waste 360, “A strategic location at a Texas university would allow the center to leverage personnel and organizational resources including student interns to meet goal projections.” Another recommendation consists of improving recycling market intelligence through the Comptroller’s Statewide Procurement Division to provide recycled-content tracking consistency across state agencies.
In order to determine whether or not the quantity of recovered materials processed/consumed in the state has grown, the RMDP supports gathering information from Texas manufacturers and processors. According to the report, “Funding is a key consideration in the implementation of recycling market development strategies, as strengthening markets for recovered materials in Texas will require investing in infrastructure, education and outreach, innovation, and more. The potential economic and environmental benefits that can be gained by this investment are substantial and serve to benefit all Texans as time progresses.”