The recycling industry plays a pivotal role in the manufacturing process. In the United States alone, 70 percent of materials processed by the recycling industry annually are used in American manufacturing.
The recycling industry is also essential in helping other manufacturers reach their sustainability goals and creating a more sustainable planet for future generations. When it comes to jobs, the recycling industry is vibrant and full of employment opportunities. Annually, the U.S. recycling industry supports nearly 20,250 manufacturing jobs and provides an economic impact of $9.8 billion to the manufacturing sector. Induced impacts generated by re-spending of employees of the recycling industry and supplier firms supports an additional 8,340 manufacturing jobs with an economic impact of $4.6 billion.
Recycling’s role in manufacturing goes beyond the use of recycled content. 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.
As manufacturing and recycling industries grow and evolve, it is important to ensure a steady supply of skilled workers both now and in the future. ISRI’s youth education curricula and outreach program provides a preview into the work of the recycling industry while encouraging students to consider the many career paths the industry provides. Equipping tomorrow’s workforce begins today.
Recycling provides critically essential feedstock, ensuring supply chains are not disrupted, protecting our natural resources, and keeping prices down for the products Americans rely on every day.
- Nonferrous metals do not degrade or lose their chemical properties in the recycling process, allowing them to be recycled an infinite number of times.
- About 75 percent of aluminum produced since commercial manufacturing began in the 1880s is still in productive use as secondary raw material.
- Manufacturing paper and paper board with recycled materials uses up to 68 percent less energy than using virgin materials.
- Using recycled plastics in manufacturing saves up to 88 percent of the energy needed to produce plastics from virgin materials.
- U.S. recyclers process more than 5 million tons of electronics products a year.
- The use of recycled rubber in molded products reduces greenhouse gas emissions 25 to 80 percent compared with the use of virgin plastic resins.