SOURCE: Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.

April 06, 2010 15:00 ET

Scrap Recycling Offers Opportunities for a Better World

Reduced Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gases Benefit Environment

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - April 6, 2010) -  With Earth Day rapidly approaching -- and prospects for federal action on global climate change likely stalled due to legislative gridlock -- where are the opportunities for improving the environment and building long-term sustainability?

One opportunity may be something most people never think about or under appreciate...their local scrap recycling yard. These for-profit recyclers not only play a huge role in recycling end-of-life materials into commodities used in the manufacture of new products (think old automobile clunkers being recycled into new steel used in the manufacture of new automobiles), they also provide huge energy and environmental benefits that directly affect the entire U.S. and global environment.

Scrap recycling is a major industry (estimated at $87 billion in 2008) dedicated to taking outdated, end-of-life materials and processing them into useful raw materials used by America's and the world's manufacturing industries. Here's how scrap recycling directly benefits the environment:

Without the recycling of these materials, there would be more mining and use of virgin natural resources. Resource mining is a heavy user of energy and a major contributor of greenhouse gases. Recycling provides a viable means of avoiding these energy-consuming and environmentally-destructive activities, while also providing an alternative to the depletion of our natural resources, such as trees and iron ore.

  • Recycled scrap accounts for 40% of the world's raw material needs.
  • 2 out of 3 lbs. of steel made in the U.S. is manufactured using steel/iron scrap.
  • Recycling one ton of steel conserves 2,500 lbs. of iron ore, 1,400 lbs. of coal, and 120 lbs. of limestone.
  • Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 79 gallons of oil, 7000 gallons of water, and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill.

The scrap recycling industry annually transforms more than 150 million tons of obsolete materials from consumers, businesses and manufacturers into useful raw materials. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that recycling these 150 million tons of materials diverts approximately 300 million tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere each year.

  • Recycling one car saves the energy equivalent of 502 gallons of gasoline and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 8,811 lbs. of carbon dioxide equivalent.
  • Recycling one computer & CRT monitor saves the energy equivalent of 27 gallons of gasoline and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 404 lbs. of carbon dioxide equivalent.
  • Recycling four tires saves the energy equivalent of 18 gallons of gasoline and reduces the greenhouse gas emissions by 323 lbs. of carbon dioxide equivalent. Over 100 million tires are recycled each year.

Recycling reduces energy consumption and the emission of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change, while maintaining a steady supply of raw materials for America's manufacturing economy. Enhanced recycling rates will result in even greater energy savings and environmental benefits. Efforts to increase these recycling rates offer America real opportunities to help protect and sustain the earth's environment, while maintaining a steady supply of raw materials for America's manufacturing economy.


Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries:

About the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI): The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. is the "Voice of the Recycling Industry." ISRI represents approximately 1,600 companies in 21 chapters nationwide that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Institute provides education, advocacy, and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development. For more information about ISRI, please visit

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