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Recycling Indus try Yearbook

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.


The U.S. electronics recycling industry has shown tremendous

growth over the past decade. This maturing segment of the

scrap recycling industry provides a boost of approximately

$20.6 billion, including exports of $1.45 billion, to the U.S.

economy (up from less than $1 billion in 2002) and employs

more than 45,000 full time employees (up from 6,000 in


A study published by the U.S. International Trade Commission

in 2013 found that the U.S. electronics recycling industry

processed more than 4.4 million tons of used and end-of-life

electronics equipment annually, not including white goods.

Of the used electronic products collected, the study found that

83 percent are reused and recycled domestically — including

scrap steel, aluminum, copper, lead, circuit boards, plastics, and

glass. ISRI estimates that the volume of electronics recycled in

the United States now exceeds 5 million tons per year.

Sophisticated technology has helped electronics recyclers

become highly efficient at recycling material into valuable,

specification-grade commodities which re-enter the

manufacturing stream as the basis for new products. For

example - one metric ton of electronic scrap from personal

computers contains more gold than that recovered from 17

tons of gold ore.

Electronics recyclers repair,

refurbish, and resell

functioning electronics

equipment as used

products into domestic

and international markets.

Companies also provide

a number of logistical services, like collection, storage, and

transportation as well as scrubbing hard drives of sensitive

personal and commercial data.

The industry is driven by equipment collected from businesses

and commercial interests, comprising up to 75 percent of the

market on a volume basis. The electronics recycling industry

is poised to meet the anticipated increased demand for more

used products and specification grade commodities.