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Recycling Industry Brings $13bn Boost to SC Economy

The recycling industry in South Carolina brings a $13 billion boost to the state’s economy annually — double the estimated impact of recycling in 2006 — according to a report.

The report, an update to a 2006 study, says despite the recession, the total economic impact of recycling activities in the state grew about 5 percent annually to double its impact in eight years. Meanwhile recycling’s benefit to jobs across South Carolina grew to 54,121 jobs affected — a 44 percent increase since 2006.

The updated report was commissioned through a partnership between the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, New Carolina and RecyclonomicsSC, a nonprofit that promoted recycling as a way to improve the economy.

The state’s recycling industry expects additional growth this year. About 64 percent of survey respondents indicated they are planning an expansion in 2014 with an average of 3.5 employees each. The average annual growth rate predicted for the industry is 19 percent.

A directory of businesses engaged in recycling activities maintained by the Department of Commerce identifies 524 firms in 2014, up 54 percent from 340 firms in 2006. These companies include collectors, haulers, processors, end-users, exporters and others. Since 2006, the state’s recycling industry has announced more than $4.63 billion in new investments.

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