The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, touted the benefit of exporting recyclables during World Trade Month, held in May. ISRI says scrap materials are among the top five U.S. exports based on value, which ultimately helps supply the global demand for all commodities.
“Global trade is integral to the recycling industry, resulting in hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue,” says Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “In any given year, 30 to 40 percent of scrap is processed for export. In 2013, commodity grade scrap products were exported to 160 countries worldwide, generating nearly $24 billion in export sales and significantly helping the U.S. balance of trade.”
ISRI notes that nearly 40 percent of the more than 460,000 jobs in the recycling industry in 2013 involved the processing and sale of scrap for export. In addition to job creation, exporting scrap creates revenue. On top of the nearly $24 billion in sales in 2013, scrap exports generated $3.5 billion in tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments.
“The benefit of exporting scrap goes well beyond the U.S. economy,” adds Wiener. “Around the world, people gain access to used electronic products that might not otherwise be available. New recycling technologies and best management practices are shared across borders. Safe and responsible recycling infrastructures are built in developing nations. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are created in importing nations, all thanks to recycling.”
To support its call for an improved environment for recyclables, ISRI recently submitted comments to the U.S. International Trade Commission’s investigation of the economic impacts of removing tariff barriers on a wide range of environmental goods, including scrap commodities and scrap recycling equipment. ISRI supports the World Trade Organization’s recently announced plans to launch talks aimed at eliminating tariffs on the trade of environmental goods among 14 countries that represent 86 percent of the global trade in environmental goods.