Recycling Industry

Recycling goes far beyond the bin at the edge of the curb.  Who recycles your cars, appliances, even old buildings?  Where do bridges, stadiums, and ocean liners go at the end of their lives? What happens to the billions of pounds of boxes used by grocers and retailers, and all other recyclable items each year?  The majority of recyclable material generated in the U.S. ends its life and beings a new life at a for-profit professional scrap recycling facility!

Recycling Industry

About the Scrap Recycling Industry

Scrap recycling is a $90 billion industry in the United States that annually transforms more than 135 million metric tons of obsolete materials from consumers, businesses, and manufacturers into useful raw materials that are essential to the manufacturing of new products.  The scrap industry’s knowledge and expertise make recycling possible.


The Scrap Recycling Industry: The Original Recyclers®

GlobeFrom the earliest uses of scrap thousands of years ago, to the optical scanners, x-rays, and air jets separating materials in today’s high-tech shredders, scrap recycling has evolved as the major industry dedicated to transforming materials to create new products and driving economies by making the old, new again. Today, the U.S. scrap recycling industry employs 138,000 men and women.

Scrap Industry Resources


ISRI provides weekly updates on the economic, commodity and scrap market developments affecting the industry. ISRI also provides commodity-specific information about how ferrous and nonferrous metals, recovered paper, plastics, electronics, rubber, glass and other scrap commodities are generated, processed, traded and used.


ISRI Reports & Resources

To support a growing and responsible industry, ISRI issues a number of policy and position statements, industry studies, commodity reports, and analysis each year.


Recycling Research Foundation

The Recycling Research Foundation (RRF) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to Foundation’s mission is to promote the art and science of scrap processing and recycling through research, sponsorships, technical assistance, and educational programs for the purpose of advancing the industry.


Recycling Facts

Learn more about each recycled commodity, including energy savings, amount processed, and more.  Fact sheets available for ferrous and nonferrous metals, paper, plastics, glass, electronics, tires & rubber, and textiles.


The Shredder Story: A Revolution in Recycling

Commodity Selection

Use the menu below to learn more about a specific commodity.

NonferrousFerrous Paper PlasticsGlassElectronicsRubberTextiles

ISRI Scrap Yearbook 2017


ISRI Scrap Yearbook 2017 is designed to not only provide the most up-to-date information and statistics about U.S. scrap recycling, but also aims to provide readers with a clearer understanding of what the scrap industry actually is, how it has evolved and operates, and the scope of the tremendous economic and environmental benefits the industry generates for the United States and the planet.


Imagine a world without recycling

The world would be a dramatically different place, with more pollution and greenhouse gases, increased energy use, and dramatically faster depletion of our virgin natural resources.  The scrap recycling industry employs 138,000 men and women (U.S.) and is a pivotal player in environmental protection, resource conservation, and sustainability.

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