A new study finds that while Westside residents were largely unaware of the local recycling industry, they were actually benefiting financially from the city’s recycling efforts.
The study, conducted by the nonprofit organization SaveWestside, found that Westside businesses that had previously used local materials in their building construction were paying more than $1.3 million in taxes annually after they recycled their materials.
The businesses added an estimated $100,000 to their revenue each year after using recycled materials, and generated an estimated 15,000 new jobs.
The findings suggest that Westsiding communities may have some knowledge of recycling, but they may be unaware that they are benefiting financially as a result.
“Our study found that people may be more familiar with the recycling industry than they realize, but in terms of the actual economic benefits, the Westsides have actually done very well,” said Michael Shulman, the director of the West Side Center for the Study of Communities in the Arts and Humanities at New York University.
“People are taking advantage of the citywide recycling efforts, but the West and Eastside are really the ones benefiting the most.”
The study also found that the recycling program was helping the region’s economy by increasing employment.
“There are a lot of folks that work at the recycling sites and those jobs are actually paying their bills,” said Shulmans colleague and Westside resident Daniel Mowry.
“The jobs are paying for college and for health care, and those kinds of things.”
While the West’s recycling programs were largely successful, Mowrey said the program also provided a huge boost to the area’s economy.
“If you go to a Westside grocery store, you’ll see all kinds of recycled goods,” Mowries said.
“So the West is basically like a grocery store.
They’re recycling everything they can find.
That helps the local grocery store and the local pharmacy, too.”
The findings of the study, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, were presented last week at a conference in Manhattan hosted by the West Coast Institute.
In a press release, the Institute noted that the study found the recycling process is a “very effective way to provide jobs and to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing.”
“It’s not just about recycling the materials, it’s about the people that are employed,” said the institute’s president, John Dolan.
“That is a significant factor in the local economies.”
According to the institute, the process of recycling buildings and infrastructure “helps generate an immediate benefit to local businesses, which can then be used to generate a return for the city.”