A new report commissioned by the Recycling Council of Alberta found that the province’s recycling sector could contribute up to $1.4 billion to the economy. Conducted by Eunomia Research & Consulting, it measured the economic and employment benefits of recycling in Alberta, specifically in terms of “job creation, wages, provincial tax benefit, capital investment and overall contribution to Alberta’s Gross Domestic Product.” Avoided waste in landfills and production of secondary recycling material are typically the focus when assessing the sector. However, this analysis highlights the significant contribution recycling already brings to Alberta and uncovers opportunities for the province to expand and capitalize on this industry while diversifying the economy.
It found that in 2018, the sector brought in $700 million and supported over 7,500 jobs. Furthermore, it also discovered that more Albertans had access to curbside recycling (75%) and organics diversion programs (44%) than previously thought. With increasing access, the analysis estimates that 1.15 million tonnes of waste was recycled during the study year. While Eunomia’s findings were promising, more can be done. Expanding and diversifying Alberta’s existing recycling programs could double the amount of waste material diverted from landfills, “re-introduce material to the circular economy”, contribute $1.4 billion to the economy, and create 13,000 jobs. This is a win-win situation across the board.