JUNE 2011

ISRI releases 2010 scrap recycling industry facts
Scrap recycling earnings up 40 percent

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), 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.

In releasing the statistics, ISRI president Robin Wiener noted that recycling goes far beyond the bin at the edge of the curb. In fact, in 2010 alone, 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 for sale as valuable feedstock material to industrial consumers in the United States and in more than 155 countries around the world. These recycled commodities:

  • Strengthen the economy.
  • Create thousands of new jobs as even more recycled materials are used in the manufacture of new products and more equipment to enable greater recycling is built.
  • Protect the environment by reducing air and water pollution as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Save energy by significantly decreasing the amount of energy needed to manufacture the products that we buy, build and use.
  • Contribute nearly $30 billion in export sales, significantly helping the United States trade balance.

ISRI detailed the volume of scrap recycling material annually processed by commodity from 2009 to 2010 (note some years are differentiated):

Volume of scrap material processed annually:

  • Iron and Steel – up to 74,000,000 from 70,000,000.
  • Paper – up to 46,800,000 from 45,400,000.
  • Aluminum – down to 4,600,000 from 4,700,000.
  • Copper – up to 1,900,000 from 1,700,000.
  • Lead – down to 1,200,000 from 1,300,000.
  • Zinc – up to 160,000 from 150,000.
  • Plastic (bottles) – up to 654,220 (2009) from 658,390 (2008).
  • Electronics – up to 3,500,000 from 1,800,000.
  • Tires (number of tires) – up to 90,000,000 from 80,000,000.

ISRI’s Wiener said, “The facts speak for themselves. Recycling is going strong and going green – no question about it.”