Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) is a United States-based private, non-profit trade association representing more than 1,300 private and public for-profit companies – ranging from small, family-owned businesses to multi-national corporations—operating at more than 6,000 facilities in the United States and 40 countries worldwide. Its membership is made up of manufacturers and processors, brokers and industrial consumers of scrap commodities, including ferrous and nonferrous metals, paper, electronics, rubber, plastics, glass and textiles. ISRI's associate members include equipment and service providers to the scrap recycling industry. Manufacturers and sellers of equipment and services—such as shredders, balers, cranes, cargo transporters, computer systems and more—also promote the scrap recycling industry through their membership in ISRI.
ISRI advocates for safety and responsibility in many different areas of the scrap recycling industry – metals theft, electronics recycling, occupational safety and regulatory compliance of its members. The organization also publishes periodic research on the recycling industry.
The trade organization operates a number of regional chapters, policy and networking events and an annual conference.
With a motto of the “Voice of the Recycling Industry,” ISRI promotes public awareness of the value and importance of recycling to the production of the world’s goods and services, along with the positive environmental benefits derived from scrap recycling. As part of this effort, ISRI advocates on behalf of the industry before the U.S. Congress, federal and state agencies, state governments and international bodies to help ensure the free and fair trade of scrap commodities globally.
ISRI also educates the public about how the scrap recycling industry is uniquely positioned to meet the challenges of today’s world — a leading economic engine for the world providing real solutions that help protect and sustain the earth’s environment.
ISRI also publishes Scrap, a bimonthly magazine of scrap recycling industry news, features, trends, market statistics, business management, environmental compliance, legislative activities, scrap processing and handling equipment and technology, international market and trade developments and more. Each issue also contains a profile feature on a scrap processing company, a scrap consuming operation, and an equipment manufacturer. Regular departments cover market trends, industry news, new products, personnel changes, and industry meetings.
ISRI operates a free web-based alert system seeking to connect law enforcement communities and scrap yard operators in the investigation and prevention of materials theft. This service, Scrap Theft Alert, is online at www.scraptheftalert.com. Law enforcement officials can post information about stolen scrap materials, or materials that have been stolen by thieves that could be sold for scrap. The reports are turned into alerts that are then broadcast over the Internet to all member scrap yards within a 200-mile radius.
Electronic scrap recycling is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing segments of the scrap recycling industry and generated an estimated revenue of more than $5.2 billion to the U.S. economy in 2010, employed more than 30,000 full-time employees in the private sector and when non-profit organizations are included, more than 45,000 people; and collected and processed domestically more than 3.5 million of used and end-of-life electronics. These figures are up, ISRI reports, from up from less than $1 billion in economic impact, 6,000 full-time employees and processing output 600,000 short tons (536,000 long tons; 544,000 t) in 2002.
ISRI, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, industry representatives and other stakeholders, helped develop the Responsible Recycling certification standard for Electronics Recyclers, (R2), an environmental safety standard that seeks to implement environmental, health and safety regulations for electronics recyclers in the absence of regulation in the U.S.
Companies certified to the standard agree to meet and maintain specific health and safety requirements in the process of dismantling and recycling scrap electronics.
ISRI also developed the RIOS standard to help improve the recycling industry overall and is available to any recycler, not just electronics recyclers.
Recycling industry jobs
ISRI produces periodic reports detailing information on the state of the U.S. scrap recycling industry. Several recent studies show that the U.S. scrap recycling industry creates and supports hundreds of thousands jobs in the United States and generates billions in revenue for federal, state and local governments across the country.
Currently, the organization estimates 534,500 jobs are supported by the recycling industry in the U.S., and that the industry contributes $117 billion in annual economic benefit.
The organization also tracks jobs created by export of scrap material to overseas markets, where scrap plastics, paper and metal are refined and processed before re-entering the manufacturing stream. According to a study conducted by John Dunham and Associates for ISRI, U.S. scrap exports directly and indirectly support some 134,000 U.S. jobs while having generated $28.8 billion in export sales in 2017, helping the U.S. balance of trade.