The U.S. scrap recycling industry is an economic leader and job creator, generating more than $117 billion annually in economic activity and directly supporting nearly 155,000 “green jobs” through its operations (an additional 378,000 jobs are indirectly supported by the industry through suppliers, including producers of recycling equipment and the induced impact of the industry’s expenditures).
The health of the U.S.‐based scrap recycling industry is dependent upon a healthy manufacturing base in the United States, as well as access to global markets. Exports of scrap commodities account for well over 25 percent of the industry’s economic activity and supports more than 134,000 Americans in good‐paying jobs.
The U.S. scrap recycling industry’s significant contributions to environmental protection, resource conservation, and sustainability can be enhanced by government policies (e.g., incentives for technology, a recognition that scrap is not waste and recycling is not disposal, etc.) that understand and recognize these benefits and that promote their growth.
The recycling industry is highly dependent upon a modern and efficient transportation infrastructure to move scrap to market, whether it be by truck, rail, ship, or barge. Thus, ISRI looks forward to supporting transportation efforts and infrastructure development proposals that may be introduced in 2018 that advance the recycling industry’s needs.
ISRI is dedicated to the idea that our workers are our most precious commodities. It is for this reason that ISRI continually looks for opportunities to strengthen its workplace safety initiatives using all possible avenues, including partnerships and resources available through the U.S. government. We believe that continuation of these types of cooperative programs between OSHA and industry help to drive safe operating practices and enhance safety awareness and culture throughout the regulated community.
Many of the America’s original recyclers were immigrants. Many of them first eked out their livings by what we now refer to as peddlers. Their ingenuity and hard work created what is today’s $117 billion scrap recycling industry. A number of the industry’s 156,000 employees are immigrants to our country. Others are legal residents protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. And, yet others are workers in the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. DACA recipients and those with Temporary Protected Status are now living under a cloud of uncertainty.
The recycling industry is significantly impacted by regulatory policy made in agencies and departments across the U.S. Government. Thus, ISRI is continually monitoring and commenting on any and all regulations that have the potential to hinder recycling operations.