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Recycling in America: a 110 billion dollar industry

Recycling remains a powerful driving force for the American economy, according to a new study by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

‘The US$ 110 billion economic impact puts the US recycling industry on par with the radio and television broadcasting, building services, and warehousing and storage industries,’ ISRI reports. This includes the roughly US$ 4.94 billion in state and local tax revenues generated along with another US$ 7.96 billion federal taxes.

A total of 164 154 jobs are currently being directly supported by the recycling and brokerage operations of the scrap industry in the US. In addition, 367 356 jobs are indirectly supported by the industry through suppliers and the indirect impact of the industry’s expenditures. The indirect jobs include thousands of people in other sectors such as servers in restaurants, construction workers, teachers, and other professionals.

‘Most importantly, this study reinforces the strength and resiliency of the scrap recycling industry,’ comments Joe Pickard, chief economist for ISRI. He observes: ‘Recycling has always been based on supply and demand. Yet, at no other time have there been such fluctuations in global market conditions and demand for the high-quality scrap produced by the US. The fact that the industry is responding to these outside forces, and remaining an economic force is a testament to its ability to adapt and a strong workforce.’

About 70% of the material processed by recyclers is used by American manufacturers. The volume is expected to increase with the arrival of new technologies.

A breakdown of the study can be found here.

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