ISRI reports recycling sector brings $90 billion to economy annually

ISRI reports recycling sector generates nearly $90 billion annually

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has released a new study on the overall economic impact of the scrap recycling industry, and it offers some powerful figures on recycling's role in the national economy.

According to the Economic Impact Study, the scrap recycling industry generates nearly $87.4 billion annually in economic activity, accounting for roughly 0.55 percent of the nation’s overall economic output as of Q1 2013. In addition, according to the report, more than 460,000 people are employed directly or indirectly by the industry as a whole. In California alone, 57,872 individuals work in scrap-recycling-related positions, the most of any state in the country.

Adding to the study’s findings, the industry was found to generate nearly $4 billion in state and local revenues and $6.3 billion in federal taxes.

Exports to 160 countries account for roughly 39 percent of the overall economic activity, the study found. Of the 137,970 jobs the industry directly generates, 56,364 of those — just under 41 percent — are created from the exporting segment of the industry. In 2012, the industry exported $27.8 billion in scrap worldwide, helping, in the words of the report, "[to] reduce worldwide energy demand and greenhouse gases as well as the need to mine and harvest virgin materials.”

According to the report, since 2009, the scrap recycling industry has expanded from a $54 billion industry to an $87 billion industry.

The study was researched and written by independent economic consulting firm John Dunham and Associates. ISRI’s President, Robin Wiener, hopes the report will convince the country that "the scrap recycling industry must be allowed to grow so it can continue to boost our economy, put people to work, protect our environment and help save energy.”

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