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US scrap recycling ‘engine’ worth US$ 87 billion

United States – The US scrap recycling sector is ‘a thriving economic engine’ that has provided almost half a million jobs in the USA this year and generated more than US$ 87 billion in commercial activity, says the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). The data for 2013 were gathered through an ‘economic impact analysis’ by consulting firm John Dunham and Associates.

According to its report, the recycling industry is responsible for 462 780 direct and indirect jobs in the USA. This includes 137 980 direct jobs such as those in facilities that process scrap materials into new, usable commodities.

Indirect jobs come from, for example, supply of machinery, equipment and services to processors, and the wages and taxes paid by the scrap recyclers to their workers and suppliers. California alone has over 57 800 people engaged in scrap recycling – more than any other US state.

Overall, the US scrap recycling industry accounts for 0.55% of the nation’s total economic activity, ISRI adds. ‘This makes it similar in size to the aircraft engine industry, the cosmetics industry and the milk industry,’ the trade body points out.

Scrap commodities are said to be ‘among the nation’s largest exports by value’, with shipments to 160 countries accounting for 39% of the industry’s economic activity. This translates to nearly US$ 28 billion generated in export sales and wages averaging US$ 10.5 billion.

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