2023 America Recycles Day
call for comments
We Rely on Recycled Materials for Everyday Items and Essential Infrastructure
It’s a great feeling when you find a newly arrived package sitting on your doorstep. The contents may be anything from your family’s weekly food delivery or prescription medications to essential tools or equipment for work or and activities. Regardless of what’s inside, what matters is that the parcel is there, on time, sitting at your doorstep. Some of that thanks is due to the efforts of the recycled materials industry and its role in the supply chain: providing a source of high-quality renewable materials to manufacturers.

From steel and copper to recycled electronics and paper, recycled materials play a critical role in making supply chains more sustainable by protecting natural resources, reducing carbon emissions, and reducing waste.
The Recycled Materials Industry Provides Sustainable Solutions
Recycled Materials Protect Natural Resources

From the roof over your head and the car you drive, to your children’s school building and your doctor’s life-saving equipment, recycled materials can be found in the items and essential infrastructure you interact with every day.

Recycled materials are a renewable, sustainable source of high-quality materials for the manufacturing of everyday items and essential infrastructure.

By providing a reliable source of materials for manufacturing, the recycled materials industry helps keep the global supply chain moving and makes the U.S. less dependent on any one market or source. The industry helps make infrastructure more self-sufficient by providing a resilient source of raw material.

Recycled Materials Reduce Carbon Emissions

A sustainable planet cannot exist without recycling.

When manufacturers obtain raw materials for a product, the recycled materials industry provides a sustainable alternative to cutting down trees for paper, mining for ore, extracting fossil fuels for plastic, and otherwise depleting natural resources. The high-quality recycled materials that the industry manages annually save enough energy to power 48 million homes for one year.

The recycled materials industry helps manufacturers reach their sustainability goals and create a greener planet for future generations.

Recycled Materials Reduce Waste

The recycled materials industry is partnering with consumer brands, big companies, and the public to research and develop ways to recycle new products. Innovative technologies like artificial intelligence are helping us separate, sort, and handle materials more efficiently.

Recycling goes beyond the use of recycled content and the implementation of new technologies. It is equally important that manufacturers design products with recyclability in mind. The industry actively works with manufacturers to ensure such through ISRI’s Design for Recycling® (DFR) principles and award.

A Greener World for Generations to Celebrate America Recycles Day

Education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—or STEM—fosters students’ ingenuity and creativity and provides a deeper understanding of recycling. Students with these educational backgrounds will develop into tomorrow’s workers. The next generation of workers will be responsible for continuing the innovation of the industry, designing products for recycling, and developing handles to recycle new materials.

To expand youth education, ISRI has partnered with the nonprofit JASON Learning to develop a school curriculum that helps teachers and students understand the importance of recycling and the industry. This partnership presents a unique opportunity to not only spread the recycling message to youth, but also inspire students to think about careers in the recycled materials industry and give them the scientific and technical background that recycling responsibilities require.

Facts and Figures
  • Recycled Materials Protect Natural Resources: 70% of the steel produced in the U.S. comes from recycled metals!
  • Recycled Materials Reduce Dependency on Natural Resource: 75% of all the aluminum used in manufacturing since the 1880s is from recycling!
  • Recycled Materials Make the Supply Chain Sustainable: More than 91% of cardboard boxes are recycled!
  • Recycling is Constantly Innovating to Recycle More Materials More Efficiently: More than 85% of a car can be recycled! Everything from your car’s seats, sound proofing, bumper, and more originated from recycled materials.
  • Recycling Provides High-Quality Materials for Everyday Items: Recycled tires can used in playgrounds, athletic fields, farm surfacing, flowerpots, roofing, and more!
  • Recycling is a Renewable Source of Materials for Essential Infrastructure: Recycled plastics are used in roadways, healthcare equipment, and more!
  • A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf within just 60 days.
  • More than 25,000 Statues of Liberty can be built with the amount of copper the U.S. recycles each year!
  • Americans could fabricate more than 900 Golden Gate Bridges with the amount of ferrous metal recycled by the U.S. each year.
  • Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours, power a computer for 30 minutes, or run a television for 20 minutes.
  • The U.S. could build 1,500 St. Louis Gateway Arches out of the stainless steel Americans recycle each year.

Have Questions?