Recycling Means Business at the 2013 Missouri Recycling Conference

Jobs and the economy are on nearly everyone’s mind these days, but Missouri continues to waste one of the biggest opportunities to stimulate both. Recycling materials that would otherwise be sent to landfills benefits the economy and the environment.

This year’s Missouri Recycling Conference is going to knuckle down on policies and procedures that keep our state lagging behind the nation. This year’s conference will launch the new “Strive for 75” campaign seeking to raise the state waste diversion to seventy-five percent. The current state goal of 40% has not changed since 1990, and funding intended to stimulate local recycling programs and the growth of new markets is being diverted to clean up old landfills.

Recycling is business! In Missouri, more than 25,000 employees work in direct recycling jobs and that is only the tip of the economic impact. Last year, the state exported $451 million in waste and scrap. Most of this went to China to produce new consumer products. Why not create those products here?

Every year, Missouri buries over 4 million tons of recyclable materials in landfills. National studies have shown that every 10,000 tons of waste diverted from landfills creates up to 75 new jobs in materials reuse. That is a potential 30,000 more green jobs.

The 2013 Missouri Recycling Conference, scheduled September 16-18 in Jefferson City, will feature success stories from around the country, workshops, tours and events. The line-up includes:

Dr. Neil Seldman, Institute of Local Self Reliance in Washington DC, and a national expert on developing recycling economies will be a keynote speaker.
Stephanie Barger, US Zero Waste Business Council in San Francisco, will describe how communities are achieving zero landfill waste.

Scot Case, Underwriters Laboratory Environmental and a “rock star” of sustainable purchasing, leads a workshop for purchasers and procurement officials on the benefits of buying green.

Rob Starr, a Missouri plastics recycler will describe how his company grew from 5 employees to more than 70; and Omar Galal will tell how his plastic recycling company creates rain barrels that are sold through the major home building stores across the US.

The conference is hosted by the Missouri Recycling Association and the Composting and Organics Association of Missouri. It will be held September 16-18 at the Capitol Plaza in Jefferson City. For more information, go to www.moraconference.org.