The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the Voice of the Recycling Industry, celebrated America Recycles Day, recently, by applauding all individuals who make a strong effort to recycle as part of their daily life, and encouraging all to learn more about recycling and the industry. America Recycles Day, a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful, takes place every November 15 in an effort to promote and celebrate recycling in the U.S.
“Each year America Recycles Day offers us a reminder of the critical role recycling plays in the earth’s sustainability, including its impact on the environment, energy savings, and the economy,” said ISRI President Robin Wiener. “We encourage every person to use this day as a reminder of the importance of recycling and the need to make a concerted effort to properly recycle in their daily lives. Each individual can make a significant difference by knowing what can and cannot be recycled in their community, and encouraging local officials to make policies that promote better recycling a top priority.”
Recycling is the first link in the manufacturing supply chain. Just last year, the U.S. recycling industry transformed more than 130 million metric tons of scrap metal, paper, plastic, glass, textiles, rubber, and electronics into specification grade commodities for use in new products.
While 70 percent of the recycled commodities processed last year in the United States was consumed at home, the global scrap market also provides a useful outlet for our nation’s excess scrap supply. U.S. export sales of recycled scrap significantly benefit the U.S. trade balance. In 2016, the United States exported more than 37 million metric tons of scrap commodities, valued at $16.5 billion. In fact, since 2000, net exports of United States scrap have made a positive contribution to our balance of trade amounting to more than $210 billion.
Recycling facilities provide jobs all across the country. Last year, the U.S. scrap recycling industry directly and indirectly supplied more than 534,000 Americans with employment while generating nearly $117 billion in economic activity. The industry paid $13.2 billion in direct federal, state, and local taxes.
Recycling conserves our limited natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by significantly saving the amount of energy needed to manufacture the products that we buy, build, and use every day. The energy saved by recycling may then be used for other purposes, such as heating our homes and powering our automobiles.
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. represents more than 1,100 companies in 21 chapters in the U.S. and 35 countries that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Institute provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development.