Recycling goes far, far beyond the bin at the edge of the curb. In fact, in 2013 alone, more than 130 million metric tons of scrap metal, paper, plastic, glass, textiles, rubber, and electronics, valued at more than $80 billion, were manufactured into specification grade commodities by the scrap recycling industry in the United States. These commodities were sold as valuable feedstock material to industrial consumers in the United States and in more than 160 countries around the world and contributed nearly $24 billion in export sales, significantly helping the U.S. trade balance.
The U.S.-based scrap recycling industry is a sophisticated, capital-intensive industry that employs approximately 138,000 workers in the United States. As the first link in the manufacturing supply chain, scrap recycling has been integral to the U.S. economy, global trade, and resource sustainability for more than 200 years.