Recycling has become prevalent almost everywhere, though for most it may still appear as if the long-term results are slim to nonexistent. How can we be sure that recycling is even helpful? What are the actual benefits of tossing an aluminum can in a separate bin than plastics? Recently, a study was conducted for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries(ISRI) by John Dunham & Associates (JDA) showing exactly how much of an impact recycling truly has. The 2021 Economic Impact Report shows that the activities of the recycling industry in the United States generates around $116.84 billion annually in economic benefits. As the sixth analysis in a series of studies beginning in 2011, the scrap recycling industry has expanded from 137,635 jobs to 159,640 jobs at more than 12,000 facilities across the nation.
One of the primary benefits of the recycling industry is the amount of jobs it creates, not only in its own facilities, but in the offices of those who supply the industry with goods and services. According to the study, the recycling industry helps support an additional 346,499 jobs in goods and services including trucking, equipment, and energy. Jobs in the industry are well paid, with wages averaging around $77,300, and generates $12.3 billion in tax revenues for governments all over the country.
Another benefit of the recycling industry is its large export amounts. More than $20 billion in products are shipped to countries around the world, including precious metals used in manufacturing electronics. This also creates an abundance of jobs, accounting for 50,360 of the industry’s jobs alone, and $35.7 billion in economic activity. Recycling also provides paper and paperboard manufacturers with materials they need to make pulp for boxes, newspaper, and toilet paper.
Recycling means using materials a second, and sometimes a third time, instead of using them once and throwing them away. This reduces the amount of raw materials, energy, and resources it takes to acquire new materials for manufacturing new products, which reduces the amount of air pollution and contamination resulting from landfills. This concept is also used in electronic waste when ITAD facilities like HOBI International Inc. repair and refurbish old electronics for resale when they have not yet reached the end of their life cycle. Recycling benefits the economy, and the environment, in many different ways.
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