A statewide survey will be launched August 15th that seeks to quantify the amount of recycling occurring throughout Texas and will assess the economics of the recycling industry in the state. Through a competitive bidding process, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) retained Burns & McDonnell to complete the study.

The study is the result of a bill by Rep. Ed Thompson (R-Pearland) and Sen. José Rodríguez (D-El Paso) passed in the 84th Texas Legislative Session (House Bill 2763), which requires the development of the study. It will build on the efforts of prior recycling studies but will also include more robust economic information, such as current market conditions and associated job creation.

Burns & McDonnell worked in partnership with a nonprofit organization, the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR), to complete and release the Texas Recycling Data Initiative (TRDI) in 2015. TRDI provided a benchmark recycling rate of 18.9 percent for recycling activity in Texas and established the methodology that the new study will build off. The North Central Texas Council of Governments and the Houston-Galveston Area Council have completed other similar, regional economic studies that have provided limited financial and jobs information.

“As with TRDI, industry participation is paramount for this Study to successfully provide updated information on recycling quantities, as well as important economic impact and market drivers,”  Scott Pasternak, Burns & McDonnell senior project manager, said in a statement. Pasternak led the TRDI effort and is managing the study.

A collaborative and voluntary process, the survey that will launch on August 15th will focus on data from processors and end users of recyclables. Since the study will request recycling and economic data from private recycling companies, Burns & McDonnell said it will take every reasonable measure allowed by law to protect business sensitive information and will have a confidentiality plan available for survey participants.

The study seeks to not only assess current recycling efforts, but it also will identify methods to increase recycling, as well as funding methods to increase recycling and associated job creation and infrastructure needs that will result from a more robust materials recovery industry in Texas, according to Burns & McDonnell.

“This Study will provide to policy makers the information they need to make educated decisions on recycling and materials management in Texas,” STAR Executive Director Sara Nichols said in a statement.

The survey launch on August 15th will allow participants to report their recycling data for the 2015 calendar year in a confidential, online survey. The results will be included in the TCEQ report, “Municipal Solid Waste in Texas: A Year in Review, 2016 Data Summary and Analysis.”

For more information about the project, visit www.txrecyclingstudy.org