Home News ISRI Releases Scrap Recycling Industry Statistics

ISRI Releases Scrap Recycling Industry Statistics

Ferrous, Nonferrous, Electronics, Nonmetallics, Auto Shredding, Metallics

Association says recycling industry is valued at more than $77 billion.

Recycling Today Staff May 18, 2011

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI), Washington, D.C., has released 2010 scrap recycling industry facts and market trends that show a thriving industry that has grown 40 percent since 2009 in terms of monetary value, despite the lingering effects of the global recession.

Robin Wiener, ISRI president, says more than 130 million metric tons of scrap metal, paper, plastic, glass, textiles, rubber and electronics, valued at more than $77 billion, were manufactured into specification grade commodities by the scrap recycling industry in the United States in 2010.

According to ISRI:

  • Seventy-four million metric tons of iron and steel were processed in 2010, up from 70 million metric tons in 2009.
  • Nearly 46.8 million metric tons of scrap paper were processed in 2010, an increase from 45.4 million metric tons in 2009.
  • The volume of aluminum processed in 2010 was 4.6 million metric tons, a decline from the 4.7 million metric tons processed in 2009.
  • The volume of copper scrap processed increased to 1.9 million metric tons in 2010 from 1.7 million metric tons in 2009.
  • The volume of lead processed in 2010 declined to 1.2 million metric tons from 1.3 million metric tons in 2009.
  • Approximately 160,000 metric tons of zinc were processed in 2010, an increase from 150,000 metric tons in 2009.
  • The volume of plastic bottles processed in 2009 increased to more than 654,000 metric tons from 658,400 metric tons in 2008.
  • Approximately 3.5 million metric tons of electronics were processed in 2010 compared with 1.8 million metric tons in 2009.
  • Nearly 90 million tires were processed in 2010 compared with 80 million in 2009.

Joe Pickard, ISRI chief economist and commodities director, says the U.S.-based scrap recycling industry is a sophisticated, capital-intensive industry that employs about 110,000 workers in the United States. As the first link in the manufacturing supply chain, scrap recycling has been integral to the U.S. economy, global trade and resource sustainability for more than 200 years, he adds.

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