Recycling may seem like a recent trend to many, but it’s been going on in the United States for over 200 years. Part of the industry lore is a story the Continental Congress had to also buy scrap to help supply materials for the purchase of muskets for the young nation. I wish we had that document around for verification. I’d like to see the names on it. Patriot Iron & Metal or Revere & Sons maybe?
Today, all recycling industries play a vital role in our economy. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) put together some numbers for 2013.
- 130 metric tons of materials were recycled in 2013
- These products represent $87 billion in economic impact to the nation
- 140,000 people are employed in recycling nationwide
- As a net exporter of recycled materials, the nation’s trade balance was improved by $24 billion dollars
- Recycled materials use less energy than virgin materials, helping curb greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainability
Here is a short video by ISRI introducing the industry impact in the USA.