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US recycling earns US$ 350 per person

The US recycling industry generates nearly US$ 116.84 billion (EUR 104 billion) annually in economic benefits, according to the latest study commissioned by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

John Dunham & Associates (JDA) has compiled the sixth in a series of studies for ISRI that began in 2011. Its 2021 Economic Impact Study reveals that in the past 10 years the US scrap recycling industry has grown from 137 635 direct jobs to 159 640 at more than 12 000 facilities nationwide. The average wage for the direct jobs is US$ 77 300.

The recycling industry also supports an additional 346 499 jobs in firms that supply the industry with goods and services such as equipment, energy, accounting and logistics.

The industry also generates US$ 12.3 billion in tax revenues for governments across the country. The overall impact of the recycling industry on the economy of the United States of US$ 116.84 billion works out at US$ 350 for every person in the country. The recycling industry in the US is as large as the farm equipment manufacturing, soap manufacturing and book publishing industries combined.

It is also a major exporter, shipping more than US$ 20 billion in secondary products such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals, paper and plastics. This alone accounts for 50 360 of the industry’s jobs and US$ 35.7 billion in economic activity, representing over 0.5% of the nation’s exports by value.

According to the author, JDA managing partner John Dunham, ‘As the opportunities to use recycled inputs grow, so to will this important industry, replacing mining, logging and refining operations, making the old new again, and helping to protect the earth’s air, water, and land for future generations.’

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