Scrap Metal Recycling Facts & Figures

While it can be a simple task to just throw your aluminum can into the recycling bin, do you really know the numbers and figures your are contributing to when it comes to scrap metal recycling. We wanted to give you an idea of how important and huge the metal recycling industry is to our environment and our country. Below we have gathered some interesting facts and figures for metal recycling.

#1 Prepared Steel

Scrap Metal Recycling Facts & Figures:

Non-Ferrous Scrap Metal Facts:

  • The United States annually recycles enough copper to provide the copper content for 25,000 Statues of Liberty.
  • Copper and copper alloy scrap provides almost half of the copper consumed in the United States each year.
  • The United States provides more than 20 percent of the world supply of recovered copper.
  • The recycling rate for Aluminum Cans jumped seven points to 65.1 percent in 2011 as nearly 61 billion cans were recycled in the U.S.
  • In 2011 the United States domestically recycled aluminum cans saved the energy equivalent of 17 million barrels of gasoline — enough to fuel more than one million vehicles on the road for 12 months.
  • Energy saved using aluminum scrap vs. virgin materials is up to 92 percent.
  • Lead-acid batteries, a primary use for Lead, have a 98 percent recycling rate.
  • A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf in as little as 60 days.
  • An estimated 85 to 90 percent of all automotive aluminum is recovered and recycled.

In 2012, the U.S. scrap industry processed (exports plus domestic recycled):
• 5.4 million metric tons of aluminum
• 2.0 million metric tons of copper
• 1.2 million metric tons of lead
• 240,000 metric tons of zinc
• 2 million tons of nickel/stainless steel

Ferrous Scrap Metal Facts:

  • In 2012, the U.S. ferrous scrap industry, was valued at $30.1 billion.
  • On average, the United States processes enough ferrous scrap daily, by weight, to build 25 Eiffel Towers every day of the year.
  • In 2012, the U.S. scrap industry recycled more than 55 million metric tons of ferrous metal.
  • Steel produced by predominantly scrap-fed electric-arc furnaces accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total raw steel produced in the United States in 2012—nearly 55 million metric tons.
  • The United States is the largest exporter of ferrous scrap in the world. In 2012, more than 20 million metric tons of ferrous scrap—valued at more than $9 billion—was exported to approximately 90 countries, including China, South Korea, Turkey, Taiwan, Canada, and India.
  • 570 million metric tons of ferrous scrap were consumed globally in 2011.
  • By using ferrous scrap rather than virgin materials in the production of iron and steel, CO2 emissions are reduced by 58 percent.
  • Recycling steel requires 60 percent less energy than producing steel from iron ore.
  • Recycling one car saves more than 2,500 lbs. of iron ore, 1,400 lbs. of coal and 120 lbs. of limestone.
  • The United States recycled nearly 11.9 million cars in 2011, supplying an estimated 15.5 million tons of shredded scrap.

Top exports in 2012 include:
• 6,564,237 metric tons of shredded steel scrap
• 7,330,933 metric tons of #1 Heavy Melting Steel
• 1,109,698 metric tons of #2 Heavy Melting Steel
• 624,111 metric tons of stainless steel
• 715,457 metric tons of alloyed non-stainless

See more facts and information from ISRI on their website:

Celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15th

Recycling scrap metal facts for America Recycles DayWith this year’s America Recycles Day already having tens of thousands of pledges to recycle, we want to make a pledge to scrap more. Recycling your scrap metal can be helpful to the environment and also can help earn you some money by doing the right thing too!

Be Green, While Earning Green!

Taking time to recycle you metals properly can not only make a difference in the production rate of new materials for goods, but also can help you earn some side cash for doing some good. Below are some essential tools needed on hand to recycle your metals.
  • Magnet – It is always a good idea to have your magnet on hand. If the magnet sticks, the metal is either steel, iron, or another ferrous metal. While they may not be the highest paid material, ferrous metals are crucial to keep separate from their non-ferrous metal (magnet doesn’t stick) counterparts.
  • Screwdriver/Hammer – You never know when you may have to remove plastic or other metals. When collecting scrap, some items like computer towers, AC units, and others can be worth more money to take plastic and steel apart from. Not only does it make more money but it also makes the recycling process easier.
  • Gloves – It is very important to protect your hands and wear other protective gear while recycling your scrap metals. For the potential sharp corners or edges it is always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Ropes – When you begin to load you scrap metal to take it to the scrap yard, you want to make sure nothing is going to shift during the ride. Tying it down and securing it, is better for both you and other drivers, in case materials falls out.
We hope that you can find a place to recycle your scrap metal this America Recycles Day. To find a scrap yard near you be sure to use the iScrap App and connect with the rest of the scrap metal recycling community on our FREE iScrap Metal Forum.