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International Scrap Trade Database

In This Section:

Recycling Industry

Have Questions?

Joe Pickard
Chief Economist
Director, Commodities

JoePickard@isri.org
(202) 662-8542

Commodities

The scrap market has become increasingly global in nature in recent decades. Figures from the United Nations Comtrade Database show that in 2015 alone, exports of all scrap commodities from reporting countries approached 180 million metric tons valued at more than $86 billion. While the United States is the largest exporter of recycled commodities in the world and China is the world’s dominant consumer of commodities (including scrap), the scrap marketplace is far from bilateral, stretching to virtually every corner of the globe.

The free and fair trade of scrap commodities provides tremendous economic and environmental benefits stemming not only from scrap’s attractiveness as a low-cost raw material input for manufacturers, but also due to the energy savings, reduced depletion of natural resources, and reduction of material sent to landfills associated with scrap recycling. Maintaining open markets for scrap is vital to ensuring that recycling’s economic and environmental benefits are fully realized.

The tables below illustrate the flow of recyclables across the globe by major scrap commodity and importing/exporting economies, as well as the total amount of scrap traded globally:

Flow of Recyclables across the Globe

Global Scrap Volumes

Ferrous Scrap

Imports  |  Exports

Recovered Paper and Fiber

Imports  |  Exports

Nonferrous Scrap

Copper
Imports  |  Exports

Aluminum
Imports  |  Exports

Nickel
Imports  |  Exports

Lead
Imports  |  Exports

Zinc
Imports  |  Exports

Plastic Scrap

Imports  |  Exports

Custom Trade Reports

ISRI members may contact ISRI Research Analyst Bernie Lee for custom trade reports by commodity, trading partner, volume and value.