Nearly 17,000 jobs in Alabama relate directly to the state’s recycling industry, according to a study done by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Southeast Recycling Development Council.
This week many recycling organizations within the state are meeting up at the Alabama Recycling Coalition Expo to talk about the industry.
“The state of Alabama is known for a lot of things, and recycling is typically not one of them,” said Ashley Chambers, president of the Alabama Recycling Coalition. “But believe it or not, industry-wise and economically speaking, the state of Alabama is very tuned in to the recycling industry.”
According to Chambers, recycling has a more than $7 billion impact on the state. Alabama is home to the world’s largest plastic recycler located in Troy.
“Everybody makes garbage, so every community has this burden of what happens to everything that we throw away,” Chambers said. “And we as a society need to make the choice of, if some of this should not be going to the landfill in the first place, then why aren’t we actively participating in a recycling program.”
To Chambers, recycling starts at the grocery store. Consumers can take the first step by buying products packaged in recyclable materials.
The ARC Expo ends Friay in Auburn.