America Relies on Recycling

Recycling provides a renewable source of high-quality materials for the everyday items and essential infrastructure people depend on. Everything from delivery boxes to bridges to life-saving healthcare equipment is produced from recycled materials.

Recycling is a resilient source of raw material that over time, makes us less dependent on scarce natural resources. This creates a more secure supply chain in which we do not have to rely on others for material.

Our industry works with individuals and communities to help them sort and recycle more. Here are some resource to help you strengthen recycling where you live.

economic impact
America’s Economy Relies on Recycling

The economic and employment benefits of the $117 billion U.S. recycling industry touch every part of the country, including your district! ISRI’s Economic Impact Study includes important information about the jobs the recycling industry supports, economic impact numbers, and more for every district in the country.

Learn more about how the industry directly benefits your community and constituents as well as additional information about the industry’s role in supporting jobs ranging from agriculture to infrastructure and beyond.

economic impact
Strong Recycling in Your Community Begins with Education

Providing tools to educate our youth on the correct way to recycle as well as the process of recycling establishes a foundation for community leaders of tomorrow, today.

Our recycling education curriculum is available for students in kindergarten through 12th grade in your community. These lessons provide hands-on STEM-certified activities that help students learn the processes and benefits of recycling, and how the decisions they make today can have a profound impact on the future of their communities and environment. Additionally, the lessons inspire America’s students to think about careers in the recycling industry and give them the scientific and technical background that such jobs require.

Take a look at this FREE resource for educators.

economic impact
Develop Local Talent with Recycling Industry Workforce Opportunities

More than half a million jobs in the United States are currently supported by the recycling industry. Maintaining a variety of good jobs in communities where you lead and recyclers thrive is vital to community development. The ISRI career Sustainability Pathways Program provides employment opportunities at all levels within the recycling industry, while providing job growth and benefits to your local economy.

Specifically targeting underrepresented groups, this program works directly with students attending Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), Native American Colleges & Universities (NACUs), trade schools, and community colleges. Participating ISRI member companies across the United States are offering paid fellowship, internship, and/or apprenticeship opportunities for current students and recent graduates.

To learn more about this program, contact ISRI Vice President of Sustainability Cheryl Coleman.

economic impact
Combat Metals Theft in Your District

Catalytic converter theft has been a prevalent issue across the country. To help your community and connect recyclers and law enforcement on issues relating to materials theft, we have a variety of materials theft educational resources for your local law enforcement officers.

Over the past 10 years our work with law enforcement agencies has yielded recovery of more than 30,000 pounds of stolen metals.

Read more about ISRI’s law enforcement outreach efforts and tools. For questions contact ISRI Director of Law Enforcement Outreach Todd Foreman.

Help Encourage Your Constituents to Recycle!

We’ve shared the many ways recycling touches our lives each day, now it’s your turn! ISRI has developed tools for you to share with your audience and constituents about how much recycling is a part of their world.

Feel free to tag us on the various social media platforms!

Access the recycling toolkit.

Recycling is Essential Coloring Worksheets

Share these worksheets with students in your local community.

Use the suggested text and graphics to highlight the benefits of recycling every day!
  • Recycling provides a renewable source of high-quality materials for the everyday items and essential infrastructure people depend on. #iRecycle
  • Everything from delivery boxes to bridges to life-saving healthcare equipment is produced from recycled materials. #iRecycle
  • Recycling Protects Natural Resources: 70% of the steel produced in the U.S. comes from recycled metals! #iRecycle
  • Recycling Makes Us Less Dependent on Scarce Resources: 75% of all the aluminum used in manufacturing since the 1880s is from recycling! #iRecycle
  • Recycling Makes the Supply Chain More Sustainable & Self-Sufficient: More than 91% of cardboard boxes are recycled! #iRecycle
  • Recycling is Constantly Innovating to Recycle More Material: More than 85% of a car can be recycled! #iRecycle
  • Recycling is a Renewable Source of Raw Material: Your cell phone contains plastic, gold, silver, copper, and aluminum, all of which can be recycled! #iRecycle
  • Recycling Provides High-Quality Materials for Everyday Items: Old tires are recycled and used in playgrounds, athletic fields, farm surfacing, flower pots, roofing, and more! #iRecycle
  • Recycling is a Renewable Source of Materials for Essential Infrastructure: Recycled plastics are used in roadways, healthcare equipment, and more! #iRecycle
Additional Resources
  • Much of what localities rely on every single day depends on the work of the recycling industry. Take a look at recycling’s role in manufacturing.
  • A sustainable planet cannot exist without recycling. The recycling industry provides valuable materials to produce goods. Learn more about recycling and sustainability.
  • The role of the recycling industry as it relates to trade is vital to local economies, supply chains, the environment, and beyond. Read more about recycling and world trade.

For additional information on these resources and more, contact ISRI Chief Policy Officer Danielle Waterfield or Manager of Government Relations Justin Short.

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