Article |

Scrap recycling industry employs half a million in U.S.

New study shows the scrap recycling industry, generating more than $87 billion annually in the U.S., serves as an economic driver, a job creator, and a major exporter.
FILED IN:  Sustainability  > Recycling

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has released an Economic Impact Study revealing that the industry accounts for nearly half a million jobs in the U.S. and generates more than $87 billion annually in economic activity. The study was performed by the independent consulting firm of John Dunham and Associates to determine the size and scope of the scrap industry in the U.S., and document its significant contribution to the economy in terms of employment, tax generation, and overall economic benefit.

“As expected, the economic impact study shows the scrap recycling industry serves as an economic driver for our country, a job creator, and major exporter,” says Robin Wiener, President of ISRI. “At a time when the national job market is fragile, the recycling industry is creating high-quality, good-paying opportunities for Americans. This in turn feeds money back into the economy through spending and revenue generated from taxes.”

According to the report, the recycling industry is responsible for 462,780 direct and indirect jobs in the U.S. This includes 137,980 direct jobs that pay an average of $69,475 in wages and benefits. Direct jobs include those in facilities that process scrap materials into new, usable commodities. Indirect jobs come from those that supply machinery, equipment, and services to processors, and the wages and taxes paid by the scrap recyclers to their workers and suppliers. Both figures mark an increase from when a similar report was done two years ago.

Related Sponsored Content

Other highlights of the study include:

• The industry generates about $4 billion in state and local revenues annually, and another $6.3 billion in federal taxes are paid each year by the industry and its employees

• The scrap recycling industry provides for 0.55% of the nation’s total economic activity, making it similar in size to the country’s forestry and fishing industries combined, nearly all the professional sports teams in the U.S., and the toy industry

• Exports account for 39% of the industry’s economic activity, creating roughly 185,000 jobs


• Export activity generates $33.9 billion in economic benefits, including $1.9 billion in federal tax revenue and $1.6 billion in state and local taxes

ISRI, the Voice of the Recycling Industry™, represents more than 1,700 companies in 21 chapters nationwide that process, broker, and industrially consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles.

E-Book Special Report
Total Cost of Ownership
Sign up to receive timely updates from our editors and download this E-Book Special Report to learn how to calculate the true Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your packaging machinery.


Don't miss intelligence crucial to your job and business!
Click on any newsletter to view a sample. Enter your email address below to sign up!
Each newsletter ranges in frequency from once per month to a few times per month at most.