Joseph Pickard: June 27, 2017

The Economic and Environmental Benefits of Recycling

New Study Reveals Strong Economic Impact of U.S. Scrap Recycling Industry 

Joseph Pickard

Chief Economist and Director of Commodities at the ISRI


Most people think of recycling as just the blue bins they set at the curb but recycling is much more than that. Recycling is the processing of scrap into tradable and highly-valued specification-grade products that manufacturers use as raw material inputs to make new products. It’s an industry that dates back to the beginning of human existence itself, and has evolved into a highly technical and sophisticated industry benefiting your community and the environment.

Some of the benefits of recycling are it reduces the amount of material sent to landfills and incinerators; conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals; Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials; Saves energy; Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change; Helps sustain the environment for future generations; and Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) recently released a new Economic Impact Study revealing that the industry accounts for nearly half a million jobs in the U.S. and generates more than $116 billion annually in economic activity. The study was performed by the independent consulting firm of John Dunham and Associates to explore the size and scope of the scrap industry in the U.S., and measure its significant contribution to the economy in terms of employment, tax generation, and overall economic benefit.

Did You Know?

  • The recycling industry is responsible for more than 543,500 jobs in the U.S.
  • Generates more than 13.2 billion dollars in federal, state, and local tax revenue annually
  • U.S. scrap exports generate more than $28 billion in total economic activity
  • Provides for 0.63 percent of the nation’s total economic activity

Joseph Pickard, Chief Economist and Director of Commodities at The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Incis available for you and your listeners on Tuesday, June 27th, to discuss the new study, recent trends, and how exactly the recycling industry works.

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More About Joseph Pickard:

Joseph Pickard serves as the Chief Economist and Director of Commodities at The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. in Washington D.C., where he conducts research and analysis on commodity and scrap market developments and the key economic role that recycling plays both in the U.S. and abroad. As a current member of the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee and Industry Trade Advisory Committee No. 9, he serves as an advisor on recycling related trade issues to the U.S. Commerce Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. He also serves as the General Delegate to the Stainless Steel Committee at the Bureau of International Recycling. He holds an M.A. in Economics from Virginia Tech, a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola University Maryland and also studied at George Mason University and KU Leuven in Belgium.

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