Recycling Economic Information Study (2010)

Recycling is an important contributor to the economy of Illinois, providing local jobs through the network of municipal and private collection programs, material recovery facilities, reclaimers, converters, brokers, reuse operations, remanufactures and recycled-content product manufacturers. Further, recycling replaces materials often mined and manufactured outside of the state with materials collected and processed within Illinois.  Not only does recycling save significant energy, but it also creates 6-10 times as many jobs as landfilling the same amount of material.

A recently completed study commissioned by the Illinois Department of Commerce studied the economic impact recycling has on the Illinois economy.  This report updated a study the Department of Commerce had completed in 2001.  The full 2010 report details the methodology followed to calculate the economic impacts, as well as documents differences from the 2001 Report methodology.  Changes in methodology were made for the Study Update to more accurately reflect the economic contribution of the recycling industry of Illinois, even though in most cases these changes reduce the estimated economic impact when compared to the 2001 Report.

This Study Update presents both the direct economic impacts of the recycling and reuse industries in Illinois, as well as estimates of indirect and induced impacts.  An attempt was made to model the indirect and induced impacts associated with all of the recycling, recycling reliant and reuse industries without double counting. Based on a “whole model approach” it is estimated that the combined direct, indirect and induced impacts of Illinois’ Recycling, Recycling Reliant and Reuse Industries are roughly responsible for:

• A total of 111,500 jobs;
• Payroll of $3.6 billion;
• $30.3 billion in additional gross receipts; and,
• Over $1 billion in state and local taxes (see Table 9 for details).

Below is a summary of how jobs, payroll, gross receipts and tax numbers break out:


Impact Type Jobs Payroll Gross Receipts State and Local Taxes
Direct Effect 40,000 $1.5 billion $17.1 billion $564.3 million
Indirect Effect 34,000 $1.2 billion $7.1 billion $234.3 million
Induced Effect 37,500 $886 million $6.1 billion $201.3 million
Total Effect 111,500 $3.6 billion $30.3 billion $1 billion


Click here for the complete 2010 Illinois Recycling Economic Information Study