Alberta’s Recycling Sector Could Contribute $1.4 Billion to the Economy, Report Finds

Alberta’s recycling sector generated $700 million in economic value in 2018, as well as supporting over 7,500 direct jobs, new analysis has found. The analysis also highlights the potential to increase this contribution in future to $1.4 billion in economic value, and 13,000 jobs. In addition to the benefits to the Alberta economy, materials collected in Alberta that are processed and utilized in neighboring jurisdictions provide additional jobs in those areas which were not included in the study.

The report, commissioned by the Recycling Council of Alberta and funded by Alberta Economic Development and Trade, Alberta Recycling Management Authority, Beverage Container Management Board, and Cleanfarms, documents the type and scale of recycling in Alberta. Undertaken by Eunomia Research & Consulting, it measures the economic and employment benefits the sector brings to the province, including job creation, wages, provincial tax benefit, capital investment and overall contribution to Alberta’s Gross Domestic Product.

The study found that more residents had access to services than previously thought, with 75% of all Alberta households able to access curbside recycling services, and 44% also having access to organics diversion programmes for recycling organic waste. In total, the research estimates that 1.15 million tonnes of material were diverted for recycling in 2018, an average of 260 kg per Alberta resident.

Researchers from Eunomia also found that, despite the overall success of the sector, significantly more could be done to increase the amount of recycling taking place. The analysis found that taking action to increase and diversify Alberta’s recycling programs could almost double the amount of material being diverted for recycling, with the accompanying economic benefits.

Jodi Tomchyshyn London, President of the Recycling Council of Alberta, said:

“This report confirms Alberta’s recycling industry already provides significant value to our economy, and validates the additional value that would be created if Alberta expanded and enhanced its recycling systems to simply meet what is already achieved in other provinces. The bottom line is Alberta has an opportunity to capitalize on its waste generation and diversify its economy by moving swiftly to adopt progressive approaches that will see materials like packaging and paper effectively managed to become part of a circular economy.”

Sarah Edwards, the lead author of the report, said:

“While it’s fantastic to see the economic benefits that the current recycling system provides to Alberta, it’s important to note that there are huge benefits to expanding current activities. Alberta leads the way in the diversity of services it offers, and maximising the potential of these will only increase the economic, employment and environmental benefits to the province.”

The results will be presented at the Recycling Council of Alberta conference, Sea Change, at the Jasper Park Lodge at 3:30 pm on October 2. For the full conference details and schedule visit the RCA website.

Media enquiries:
Christina Seidel
Recycling Council of Alberta
E-mail: info@recycle.ab.ca
Tel: 403-843-6563

Charlotte Perkins
Eunomia Research & Consulting
E-mail: charlotte.perkins@eunomia.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 117 917 2250

Notes
The full report is available to download here

  • 546,000 tonnes of residential recyclables were collected through curbside and depot services for recycling in Alberta in 2017, this resulted in 2,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs, providing $110 million in wages and contributing $210 million to the Alberta economy.
  • The current Alberta Paint Recycling Program results in 110 direct, indirect and induced jobs providing $6 million in wages and generating $12.5 million of GVA to the Alberta economy.
  • The Alberta Beverage Container Stewardship Program generates 2,280 direct, indirect and induced jobs and $142 million in GVA the program estimates that 1.9 billion containers were returned resulting in 96,000 tonnes of material being recycled into new products.
  • The Alberta Electronics Recycling Program generates 320 jobs and over $33 million in GVA processing over 12,000 tonnes of material for recycling.
  • The Alberta Tire Recycling Program generates 410 direct, indirect and induced jobs contributing $49 million to the Alberta economy.
  • The Alberta Used Oil Materials Recycling Program generates 640 direct, indirect and induced jobs and $69 million in GVA from the collection and processing of oil, filters and plastic oil containers.
  • The Alberta Cleanfarms Stewardship Program generates 19 jobs and $2.4 million in GVA.
  • A total of 1.2 million tonnes of additional material could be recycled through improvements to current programs and introduction of new. This would result in 5,800 extra jobs and an additional $700 million in GVA.

About the Recycling Council of Alberta

The RCA’s mission is to promote and facilitate waste reduction, recycling, and resource conservation in the Province of Alberta. Through a consultative approach and support of the RCA Committees and partners (i.e., government, industry, stewardship organizations and other associations) and additional stakeholders, the RCA will pursue protection of the environment through resource conservation following the 3Rs hierarchy. For more information about the RCA please visit https://recycle.ab.ca.

About Eunomia

1. Established in 2001, Eunomia Research & Consulting (‘Eunomia’) is an independent consultancy dedicated to adding value to organisations through the delivery of improved outcomes. Eunomia has over 100 employees, with offices in Bristol, London, Manchester, Brussels, Athens, New York and Auckland. Working throughout Europe, North America and beyond, Eunomia’s consultants have experience and expertise in environmental, technical and commercial disciplines. Eunomia’s main service areas include:

  • Waste management;
  • Low carbon and renewable energies;
  • Resource efficiency and the circular economy;
  • Ecosystem services and green infrastructure;
  • Marine planning;
  • Evaluation services; and
  • Climate change adaptation.

2. Eunomia is an appointed advisor to many types of organisations including central government, local and regional authorities, national utilities, waste management and technology companies and global financial institutions.

3. For more information about Eunomia, please visit https://www.eunomia.co.uk