According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling industries, scrap recycling contributes almost $106 billion in economic activity to the United States economy annually, including more than $11 billion in wages paid to the nearly 150,000 workers directly employed in the industry.
A video recently released by the group highlights these figures and more, noting that the federal tax impact of the scrap recycling industry totals around $6.76 billion in revenue, a figure that includes taxes paid both by businesses and their employees. On the state and local level, $4.39 billion in tax revenue is attributed to the industry. These figures were derived from a study commissioned by the industry group to determine the economic impact of scrap recycling activities.
The benefits of scrap recycling can be felt across many fields, but especially auto recycling.
Creating Jobs and Supporting Communities
The overall jobs impact of the scrap recycling industry reaches more than 470,000 when taking into account over 322,000 indirectly benefitting from scrap recycling activities at firms involved in the purchase and resale of recyclable materials. Among those employed directly in manufacturing and brokering operations, the average compensation in wages and benefits amounts to $77,153.
Since there are scrap facilities in every state, the economic impact of the industry is not just large, it is also widespread, reaching rural and urban communities alike. The wages of workers directly employed in the scrap recycling industry, as well as those employed by service providers to the industry in occupations like trucking and machine manufacturing, support local businesses and community services throughout the United States.
Exports Generate Significant Impacts
The scrap recycling industry also contributes significantly to the nation’s exports with almost $21 billion in exports of commodity grade scrap materials to 160 countries in 2014, according to the study. These materials, in terms of volume, are among the top U.S. commodity exports annually. This export activity creates a little over 125,000 jobs and adds $5.43 billion in wages and $28.34 billion in economic benefits to the U.S. economy along with $1.31 billion in federal and $1.6 billion in state and local taxes.
Industry Size and Energy Impacts
In terms of size, the scrap recycling industry, represents .68 percent of the total U.S. economy, a share that is comparable to those of the auto repair and data processing and hosting industries. With more than 135 million metric tons of materials recycled in 2014, the economic impact of the scrap recycling industry also includes reducing the energy costs associated with obtaining materials for manufacturing. These energy savings translate to reduced emissions of greenhouse gasses which have been shown to have negative and costly environmental impacts.
Overall, the scrap recycling industry makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy, providing good jobs, strong export activity, tax revenues that help support federal and local budgets throughout the United States and savings in energy and environmental impacts.