AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - Oct 21, 2014) -  A statewide survey launched October 15 by the Texas Recycling Data Initiative (TRDI) is seeking to quantify the amount of recycling occurring throughout Texas. The survey is intended to give Texas policy makers the information they need to examine the economic, environmental and policy issues of interest to Texas businesses, citizens, and governmental agencies.

Survey results will be made available to the 84th Texas Legislative Session that begins in January 2015. Survey data will allow the legislature to evaluate the costs and economic benefits of recycling.

The effort is led by a partnership comprised of the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) and the Lone Star Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (TxSWANA). STAR is a nonprofit organization made up of a number of municipalities, solid waste management groups, recycling organizations, and business associations.

"For Texas, this is truly a game-changing effort because there is currently no comprehensive or statewide information collected on the amount of material recycled in the state," said Maia Corbitt, STAR's executive director. "This means that when it comes to market expansion, infrastructure development, and public policy issues, both businesses and government entities are flying blind, and that's not good for Texas or its economy."

"With so many cities and businesses focused on recycling in the State of Texas, this project provides a great opportunity to objectively establish the recycling rate for Texas," says Scott Pasternak, the project manager for Burns & McDonnell, an environmental services firm that is overseeing the survey process. 

A collaborative and voluntary process, the survey will focus on data from processors and end users of recyclables to prevent double counting. TRDI will utilize a confidential approach to ensure that proprietary business data is protected. 

TRDI seeks to measure not just the amount of material being recycled, but the types of material and the places where those materials are being recycled. In addition to tracking traditional recyclables collected, the project will gather data on organics, construction and demolition material, electronics, and household hazardous waste.

The results will highlight what recyclables are under-collected or under-processed. This information will allow communities to advocate for increased infrastructure and education. In areas where Texas is excelling, the study will validate current recycling efforts and the funding for these programs.

The data also will quantify, for the first time, the number of jobs created by the recycling industry and will highlight the potential for even more jobs to be created as the industry grows in Texas.

The TRDI Steering Committee, which is comprised of stakeholder representatives from the public, private, governmental, and nonprofit sectors, underwent a competitive bid process for the survey development and dissemination and retained Burns & McDonnell, a firm that specializes in environmental studies and consulting services. Contributors to the project fund thus far include: TxSWANA, STAR, Construction & Demolition Recycling Association, Recycling Council of Texas, Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), Texas Coal Ash Utilization Group, Carton Council, Curbside Value Partnership, Steel Recycling Institute, and the American Forest & Paper Association. 

"In a growing state with the second-largest population in the country, we need to take a serious look at what that population expends as waste, when instead it could and should be the next great resource boom for Texas," Corbitt says.

Contact Information:

Press contact:
Sara Nichols
State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR)