In 2018, the US recycling industry was valued at nearly $110bn, a similar size to the country's broadcast and warehouse and storage industry


In the US, the recycling industry directly employees more than 160,000 people (Credit: Pixabay)

The US recycling industry continues to be a powerful force in the country’s economy, according to a study commissioned by trade association the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

Conducted by analytics company John Dunham and Associates, the report found it’s responsible for more than 531,500 jobs and has an overall economic impact of nearly $110bn.

This puts its financial impact on par with the radio and television broadcasting, building services, and warehousing and storage industries.

ISRI chief economist Joe Pickard said: “The recycling industry continues to power America’s manufacturing base, creating jobs, generating tax revenue, and proving valuable feedstock for new products.”

“In the US, we continue to process more material into valuable commodities, 70% of which is used right here by American manufacturers.

“With the innovation and new technologies coming online, this trend is expected to continue upward.”


More than 300,000 jobs indirectly linked to the US recycling industry

The study found 164,154 jobs are being directly supported by the recycling and brokerage operation in the scrap industry in the US.

On average, these employees are earning an average of $73,000 in wages and benefits.

In addition to this, 367,356 jobs are indirectly supported by the the industry through suppliers and the indirect impact of its expenditures.

Jobs include those in sectors such as restaurants, construction workers, teachers and other professionals.

recycling industry us
More than 300,000 jobs are indirectly supported by the the industry through suppliers and the indirect impact of its expenditures (Credit: Pixabay)

Pickard said: “Most importantly, this study reinforces the strength and resiliency of the scrap recycling industry.”

“Recycling has always been based on supply and demand. Yet, at no other time have there been such fluctuations in global market conditions and demand for the high-quality scrap produced by the U.S.

“The fact that the industry is responding to these outside forces, and remaining an economic force is a testament to its ability to adapt and a strong workforce.”

Of the 531,510 either directly or indirectly supported by the recycling industry, 53,886 were employed in the state of California, 31,802 in Illinois and 27,114 in Florida.



Scrap recycling export market worth more than $30bn

In total, more than 160,000 people have jobs in either the direct, supplier or induced sides of the scrap recycling export market.

recycling industry us
The scrap recycling export market is worth around $33bn to the US economy (Credit: Pixabay)

Across this industry, its employees earn a total of more than $10bn, with each side receiving roughly £3bn each.

Alongside this, the scrap recycling export market is worth around $33bn to the US economy.

This industry in the US is estimated to generate around $4.94bn in state and local revenues annually, with another $7.96bn going towards federal taxes a year.