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National Manufacturing Day highlights recycling’s sustaining role

October 2, 2021   Maryam Farag

Each year, the recycling industry in the U.S. manufactures 130 million metric tons of material into commodities that are used in new products. In recognition of the industry’s contributions to American manufacturing, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) joins in the celebration of National Manufacturing Day.

“As we come together to recognize the work of American manufacturers, we cannot do so without acknowledging the countless benefits of the recycling industry,” said Robin Wiener, President, ISRI. “Recycling is manufacturing. The manufacturing industry depends on recycling and the critical raw materials the industry provides. ISRI is proud to represent the men and women of the recycling industry and the essential role they play in keeping American manufacturing operating.”

In the U.S. alone, 70 per cent of materials processed by the recycling industry annually are used in American manufacturing.

Additional facts and figures regarding recycling’s role as manufacturing include:

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  • Nonferrous metals do not degrade or lose their chemical properties in the recycling process, allowing them to be recycled an infinite number of times.
  • About 75 per cent of aluminum produced since commercial manufacturing began in the 1880s is still in productive use as secondary raw material.
  • Manufacturing paper and paper board with recycled materials uses up to 68 per cent less energy than using virgin materials.
  • Using recycled plastics in manufacturing saves up to 88 per cent of the energy needed to produce plastics from virgin materials.
  • U.S. recyclers process over 5 million tons of electronics products a year.
  • The use of recycled rubber in molded products reduces greenhouse gas emissions 25 to 80 percent compared with the use of virgin plastic resins.

Currently, 159,640 jobs are directly supported by recycling and brokerage operations of the recycling industry in the United States. These jobs pay an average of $77,300 in wages and benefits to American workers and local communities throughout the country.