2019 Recycling Industry Yearbook

ISRI.ORG 23 Nonferrous metals do not degrade or lose their chemical properties in the recycling process, which allows them to be recycled an infinite number of times. Nonferrous scrap comes from a wide array of consumer, commercial, and industrial sources that include electronic devices and wiring, beverage containers, automobile batteries and radiators, aluminum siding, airplane parts, and more. According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Commerce Department, in 2018 the United States recovered more than 9.2 million mt of nonferrous scrap that ISRI estimates was worth more than $34 billion. Nonferrous metal scrap is less than 10% of all scrap recycled in the United States by volume, but by value, nonferrous metals—which include precious metals —provided nearly half of the total value of U.S. scrap recycling industry earnings in 2018. The United States exported $10.4 billion worth of nonferrous scrap to more than 95 countries in 2018, including China, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Belgium, India, and Germany. The following pages give further detail on some of the most prevalent recycled nonferrous metals: aluminum, copper, lead and zinc, and nickel. Sources: USGS, USITC, JASON Learning, ISRI Manufacturing products from recycled aluminum saves up to 95 percent of the energy needed to manufacture them from virgin materials. About 75% of all aluminum produced since commercial manufacturing began in the 1880s is still in productive use as secondary raw material.