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International Trade

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Rising demand for scrap material is essential for the health of the planet and for the global economy. By processing materials into a specification-grade commodities, recyclers help keep valuable material out of landfills and avoid the potential for its mismanagement.

Through the process of buying and selling, valuable scrap material moves to where there is demand. It becomes essential feedstock utilized in the manufacturing of new products worldwide. More than 800 million metric tons of scrap commodities are consumed worldwide each year.

In the United States, export sales of scrap significantly benefit the U.S. trade balance. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. International Trade Commission, the United States exported more than 38 million metric tons of scrap commodities valued at $19.2 billion to more than 150 countries in 2019. 

As the largest supplier of scrap in the world, the U.S.-based recycling industry is truly the first link in the global manufacturing supply chain. ISRI aggressively advocates initiatives that promote free and fair trade of scrap commodities. It remains a key component of ISRI’s Advocacy Agenda

Key Markets

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International Scrap Trade Data

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The scrap market has become increasingly global in nature in recent decades. 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.

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Trade Compliance

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ISRI is a staunch advocate for responsible recycling, regulatory enforcement and improving the quality of materials in compliance with our internationally-recognized Specifications. Trade contributes to the well-being of the planet and provides a vital lifeline for communities around the world to take part in the growing demand for recycled materials, and compliance begins here at home.

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Have Questions?

Adina Renee Adler
Vice President, Advocacy
AAdler@isri.org
(202) 662-8514