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Midwest Proves Recycling Pays

Chicago, IL - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 states lead the nation in economic impacts of recycling, according to the U.S. Recycling Economic Information Study.

On a national level, the recycling industry supports more than 56,000 recycling establishments that gross more than $236 billion in annual revenues and employ more than 1.1 million people with a payroll of $37 billion.

In the Midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, more than 8,000 recycling and reuse businesses employ 275,000 workers with a payroll of almost $10 billion and gross more than $62.5 billion in annual sales, according to available data.

"This study proves what we have said for a long time. Recycling is not just good for the environment, it also creates jobs and contributes significantly to our economy," said Region 5 Administrator Thomas Skinner.

According to C. Robert Taylor, Midwest director of the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, "we recognize the economic importance and job-creating power of the region's recycling and reuse industry and applaud EPA for proving that fact."

The study, commissioned by EPA in cooperation with the states and the National Recycling Coalition, reinforces the well-established environmental benefits of recycling and reuse such as cutting pollution, conserving natural resources, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

From the local cities and towns that collect household recyclables to the large scale businesses that manufacture state-of-the-art products from recycled materials, the financial and employment benefits appear to be at an all-time high.

"In order to reach EPA's national target of a 35 percent recycling rate by 2005, we must support markets for recyclables and encourage consumers to seek out and buy recycled products," said Skinner. 1999 data show a 27.8 percent national recycling rate.

For more information on the REI study, visit the EPA's Jobs Through Recycling website www.epa.gov/jtr.

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