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Commodity Markets & Prices/Impacts on State Economies and the Environment: Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Presentation to the National Lt. Governors Association Meeting

Mar 28, 2017

By Walter Wright

Ms. Robin Wiener, President, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (“ISRI”), undertook a presentation at the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association Federal-State Meeting titled:

Commodities Markets & Prices: Impacts on State Economies & the Environment (“Presentation”)

The meeting was held March 16th in Washington, D.C.

ISRI (trademarked @ISRI) is a national trade association whose members include 1,300 companies that collect, manufacture, broker, consume, transport, and process various types of recyclables such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals, paper, plastics, tire/rubber, textiles and electronics.

The National Lieutenant Governors Association had previously adopted a resolution supporting the concept that recyclables are not waste.

ISRI was asked to be a part of a panel discussion at the meeting designed to convey the impacts of commodity markets on the state economies.

The overall focus of the Presentation was the economic impact of the scrap recycling industry. For example, Ms. Wiener noted that jobs supported by the United States scrap recycling industry in 2015 totaled:

  • Direct 149,010
  • Supplier 171,350
  • Induced 151,227

The source of these statistics is: “Economic Impact Study U.S.-Based Scrap Recycling Industry,” John Dunham and Associates, 2015.

The study also concluded that the total economic impact of the recycling industry was $105.8 billion with 11.2 billion in federal, state and local taxes paid.

The Presentation noted that between 30 and 40% of all scrap processed in the United States is exported every year. Total exported tons per year is 40 million metric with a value of $21 billion. These numbers are produced by the more than 8000 recycling facilities operating in the United States.

As to state implications, the inter-relationship with commodity markets, recycling incentives and sustainable solutions was addressed. Ms. Wiener noted that energy saved using recycled materials has been determined to be:

  • 95% for aluminum
  • 88% for plastic
  • 60% for steel
  • 75% for copper
  • 60% for paper
  • 34% for glass

Ms. Wiener addressed the future noting:

  • “Hope for upturn in 2017: Hints at rising commodity prices”
  • Relevance of political/government factors
  • Heightened uncertainty about future policy changes and unintended consequences of protectionist measures

A copy of Presentation can be downloaded here.

Walter G. Wright is a member of the Little Rock, Arkansas office of the Mitchell Williams Law Firm. His practice has focused for almost thirty years on environmental, energy (petroleum marketing), and water law. This post originally appeared on The Between the Lines blog made available by Mitchell Williams Law Firm and the law firm publisher. The blog site is for educational purposes only, as well as to give general information and a general understanding of the law. This blog is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Use of this blog site does not create an attorney client relationship between you and Mitchell Williams or the blog site publisher. The Between the Lines blog site should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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