Compiled By Deborah Austin The Upper Midwest leads the nation in the economic impact of recycling. So suggests the U.S. Recycling Economic Information Study released recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the not-for-profit National Recycling Coalition, Alexandria, Va. In EPA's Region 5 states -- Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin -- more than 8,000 recycling/reuse businesses gross $62.5 billion annually in sales and employ 275,000 workers with a payroll of nearly $10 billion. That's roughly 25% of the entire nation's recycling industry impact, in a region representing 18% of its population. Nationally, the industry supports 56,000-plus establishments grossing $236 billion in annual sales and employing more than 1.1 million people. The study is based on historical data published from 1997 to 1999, and additional surveys conducted in 2001.