Everyone knows recycling helps safeguard the environment. But did you know it helps the economy, too?
Research conducted for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) by John Dunham & Associates revealed that “the U.S. scrap recycling industry is a major economic engine powerful enough to create 534,506 jobs.” The total economic activity generated by scrap recycling in the U.S. is $117 billion, according to the study.
Jobs created by recycling include direct employment by companies that manage recycling, as well as suppliers and other players in the industry. The average salary for recycling and brokerage operations, says the report, is $76,515.
The recycling industry accounts for more than $363 million in wages in Indiana and more than $728 million in wages in Illinois.
According to ISRI data, “The scrap recycling industry has been at the forefront of job creation.”
Recycling supports local government, too
Researchers also found that recycling can generate $13.2 billion in tax revenues for governments across the country. Part of the reason recycling has such a strong impact on the economy is the fact that it’s widespread throughout the U.S.
In 2017, the scrap recycling industry contributed commodity scrap exports to 145 countries and generated $18 billion in sales through exports—helping the balance of trade for the U.S. These recyclable materials include iron, steel, other metals, plastics, rubber, and others.
Recycling helps U.S. manufacturing
“The U.S. scrap recycling industry provides the high value, environmentally friendly, and energy-saving raw materials that make America’s manufacturing industries more competitive in the global marketplace,” says ISRI.
Recycled scrap metal and more
By the numbers, recycling in the U.S. is huge. In the U.S., we process 130 million metric tons of scrap materials every year. This includes:
- 66 million metric tons of iron and steel
- 46.1 million metric tons of paper
- 5.3 million metric tons of aluminum
- 1.9 million metric tons of copper
Recycling for the environment
Many observers describe recycling as a win-win. While spurring on the economy, recycling also helps cut greenhouse gas emissions, protects natural resources, and can save energy.