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Foth Study Finds Economic and Job Growth in Plastics Recycling

Wisconsin will benefit from increases to statewide recycling initiatives

Wisconsin sends $64 million worth of recyclable plastics into landfills each year. A recent study by Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC (Foth) and Moore Recycling Associates for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) showed that there are many ways that Wisconsin could recoup some of that money and put it back into the economy. Many local governments and private plastics recycling companies helped shape the results of the study through interviews conducted by the Project Team.

“The plastics industry already creates tens of thousands of jobs in our state. By increasing recycling even more, we’re opening the door for more jobs, more business and a more successful Wisconsin,” said Tim Weyenberg, Foth CEO. “Being part of this study was a wonderful opportunity to partner with public-side colleagues to better the future of our state both environmentally and economically.”

Despite a comprehensive plastics recycling law widely supported by Wisconsin residents, the state remains at the national average of almost 30% recycling rate for high-value plastics for items such as PET and HDPE bottles, and a low of 2% for lesser-value plastics, such as PP containers. Used plastics make up 14% of the waste stream in landfills. The Foth Project Team identified barriers and opportunities for growth and revealed that plastics recycling could be a significant contributor to economic and job development potential. In the study, the Team describes 40 different options for improvements and created planning scenarios for next steps.

The study was completed in October 2012 and formally released February 7, 2013. The DNR has created an active Plastics Recycling Subcommittee and implementation steps are being identified.

“The DNR’s quick action on implementation is a testament to its commitment to the project and to improving Wisconsin’s plastic recycling habits,” said Dan Krivit, Foth Senior Project Manager.

To view the entire study, visit this page on the Wisconsin DNR website.

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