Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.
Scrap recycling generates nearly $106 billion annually
in economic benefits in the U.S. Despite recent indus-
try-specific challenges, U.S. scrap recyclers last year
processed more than 135 million tons of scrap metal,
paper, plastics, electronics, textiles, glass, and rubber from
commercial, residential, and industrial sources into useful
raw materials that are essential to the manufacture of
is the most recycled material in the world.
Last year, the U.S. scrap industry processed 73 million
metric tons of ferrous scrap (iron and steel), valued at
more than $26 billion. In terms of volume,
including aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, tin, zinc,
and others precious metals make up 7 percent of the
total materials recycled in the United States last year, but
in terms of value, nonferrous scrap accounts for more
than half of the total U.S. scrap recycling industry earn-
ings. More than 9 million metric tons of nonferrous scrap,
valued at approximately $40 billion, was processed in the
United States last year.
, also known as recovered paper and
board, is one of the most widely recycled materials in the
world. Last year in the U.S., the paper recycling industry
was valued at $7.8 billion, with more than three-quarters
of paper mills relying on recovered fiber to make some or
all of their products.
More than 3.5 million tons of post-industrial and post-
scrap is recycled annually in the United
States, valued at nearly $1.5 billion. The U.S. export of
plastic scrap increased 14 percent last year to approach
2.2 million metric tons, the fastest growth in exports
among the major scrap commodities.
recycling industry has continued to
show tremendous growth over the past 10 years, annual-
ly processing more than 4.4 million tons of used and end-
of-life electronics equipment, and annually contributing
more than $20 billion to the U.S. economy.
Last year, 103 million
were processed by the U.S.
recycling industry. Scrap tire rubber is used to manufac-
ture new tires, playground surfaces, equestrian mats, and
rubberized asphalt, among other products. Currently, 34
percent of all
containers are recycled in the United
States. Recycled glass is substituted for up to 70 percent
of raw materials used in making new glass.
Scrap Recycling Industry Economic Impact Study
In 2015, ISRI released its biennial Economic Impact Study
providing an economic
analysis of the size and scope
of the U.S. scrap recycling
industry and its significant
contribution to the econo-
my, including employment,
tax generation, and overall
economic benefits. This
study was conducted by an
independent consulting firm,
John Dunham and Associ-
ates, and can be found on
the ISRI website( ISRI.org/jobstudy )
where members and
others can access economic impact breakdowns by state,
congressional district, and state legislative districts.
About the Scrap Industry