• Press Release

ReMA Report: Recycling Industry Contributes $116 Billion to U.S. Economy

Economic Might and Environmental Benefits of Recycling Celebrated on Earth Day 2021

April 22, 2021 (Washington, DC) – The U.S. recycling industry contributes $116 billion in economic output to the national economy, according to preliminary data released today by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) during its annual convention and exposition.

“As the industry is gathered virtually for our ISRI2021 annual convention this year, we are proud to celebrate how recycling plays an essential role in not only our environment, but also in the U.S. and global economies,” said ReMA President Robin Wiener. “As the world recovers from a global pandemic, the resilience of the recycling industry once again shines through with a total economic output that is up 6.4 percent compared with pre-pandemic levels.”

Additional preliminary information from a new study conducted by John Dunham and Associates and released by ReMA finds that the U.S. recycling industry is directly responsible for more than 159,000 jobs. In addition, 346,499 jobs are indirectly supported by the industry through suppliers and services. This totals to more than 506,000 well-paying jobs.

In addition to the industry’s economic impact, recycling benefits the environment in a number of ways including:

  • Conservation of limited natural resources and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by significantly saving the amount of energy needed to manufacture the products that we buy, build, and use every day.
  • Reduction in the need to mine for new ore, cut down more trees, and otherwise deplete our natural resources.
  • Reduction in the amount of material sent to landfills, thereby preserving the land for better uses.

ISRI will release the full economic impact report, including state, congressional, and export information in the next month.


The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the "Voice of the Recycling Industry™." ReMA represents 1,300 companies in 20 chapters in the U.S. and more than 40 countries that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, the Institute provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development. Generating nearly $110 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides more than 500,000 Americans with good jobs.


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