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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

new products.

Ferrous metal

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.

Recovered fiber

, 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.

The U.S.


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

( )

where members and

others can access economic impact breakdowns by state,

congressional district, and state legislative districts.

About the Scrap Industry