Our recycling customers make a significant contribution to our economy as well as sustainability. The industry recycled 135 million metric tons of materials in 2014. The material was diverted from landfills to produce new products, reducing the need to mine or harvest new resources, with less energy expended during the process.
The Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries summarized the economic benefit of this activity in a 2015 study. The industry supports 470,000 plus jobs and generates $105 billion in economic activity. This includes downstream suppliers such as auto wrecking yards, independent scrappers, and firms that provide equipment and services to the industry.
Recycling contributes about 0.68% of the national economic activity and generates about $11 billion in federal, state, and local taxes annually. Recycling helps the US trade balance with exports to over 160 countries valued at nearly $21 billion in 2014.
ISRI summarized the report in this short video.