ISRI yearbook highlights importance of recycling industry

ISRI has released its 2023 ISRI Recycled Materials Industry Yearbook. The report provides information, analysis and statistics about the U.S. recycled materials industry and global marketplace.

“Recycled materials make up the everyday items and essential infrastructure all around us,” said ISRI president Robin Wiener.

“The Yearbook tells that story, while providing critical analysis and a wealth of comprehensive industry data. We are excited to provide this definitive resource that outlines recycled materials’ critical role in manufacturing, infrastructure investment, and supporting a sustainable society.” 

The recycled materials industry is a major contributor to the U.S economy, generating nearly US$117 billion in economic activity while directly and indirectly supporting more than 500,000 jobs. In 2022, the U.S. recycled materials industry processed 137 million metric tons of recycled materials, including nearly 70 million tons of recycled iron and steel, 45 million tons of recovered paper and fibre, nine million tons of nonferrous metals, and more than five million tons of recycled and reused electronics.

In 2022, U.S. steel mills consumed approximately 56.6 million metric tons of recycled iron and steel in order to produce 82 million metric tons of steel. An estimated 49.1 million tons(44.5 million metric tons) of paper and paperboard were recycled in the U.S. in 2022, with an overall recycling rate of 67.9%; making paper the second most recycled material.

Compared to the cost of mining, drilling, harvesting, or other methods of extracting primary natural resources for manufacturing, the use of recycled materials produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and significantly reduces energy consumption.

The U.S. recycled materials industry is essential in meeting the infrastructure and sustainability goals mandated by the historic $1.3 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other stimulus measures. 

The Yearbook also provides the latest available information on major recycled material markets including nonferrous metals, such as copper, aluminum, nickel, lead, and zinc; plastics, electronics, tires and rubber, glass and textiles.