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Is the Scrap Metal Recycling Industry Growing?

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

Scrap Metal

There is no doubt that the recycling industry is necessary for the health of our planet. With pushes for consumers to recycle, and for more companies to use recycled materials, the recycling industry is continuing to grow in importance.

When you look at the recycling industry, there are three things you need to know about its growth.

  1. The growth of the scrap metal recycling industry’s market size.

  2. The innovation of recycling industry software offerings.

  3. The growth of new recycling industry startups globally.

Number One - The Growth of the Recycling Industry’s Market Size

Over the last 30 years, the recycling industry has changed dramatically. What once was a purely financially-driven market is now driven by a growing concern for the environment.

According to some of the recycling industry’s leading authorities, the industry’s market size in 2022 is $9.4 billion dollars in the USA alone.

What’s better is that the recycling industry is expected to increase 4 to 7% each year moving forward. So, how does this affect scrap metal yard owners?

First, let's break down the numbers by the two types of scrap metal: Ferrous and Non-Ferrous.

Ferrous scrap metal is the most commonly recycled material, also known as iron or steel. This type of metal is a small sliver of the recycling industry pie, but it accounts for nearly $100 million of the global market as of 2019. In the USA alone, we recycle enough ferrous metal, by weight, to build 25 Eiffel Towers every day.

Non-Ferrous scrap metal is not magnetic, making it a bit more difficult to recycle as it’s not easily separable from other materials. Some examples are copper, brass, zinc, nickel, tin, gold, lead, etc. Non-Ferrous metal accounts for $238.77 million of the global market as of 2020.

All of the market reports following the specific metrics within the scrap metal recycling industry globally say the same thing: the industry is growing!

Number Two - The Innovation of Recycling Industry Software Offerings

Over the last few years, the recycling and waste management industries have begun to innovate and automate their once painfully manual processes.

Things like tracking of waste management trucks using GPS, signaling when a truck’s container is full, and improving scheduling is only a recent implementation that is saving money and reducing carbon emissions.

In the recycling industry, software developers are creating some of the most advanced systems to automate the recycling intake process.

For example, in the scrap metal recycling industry, companies like Metal to Money are developing payment systems that eliminate payment errors commonly seen at the local scrap metal yards. Now, yard owners can pay customers with a Visa debit card rather than cash or printed checks. This saves thousands of dollars per year in payment errors and ATM fees.

Software products provide much needed improvements of everyday processes, as well as provide automated reporting and purchase histories that government entities require from each scrap yard business.

As we’ve seen above, the recycling industry is only successful when the average consumer can easily push unused items to scrap yards and waste management centers. Without easy and scalable processes, the recycling industry will struggle to maintain the volume of recycling necessary to make a lasting impact for our environment.

Number Three: The Growth of New Recycling Industry Startups Globally

There are hundreds of new startups on the recycling scene. With sustainability on everyone’s mind, these young entrepreneurs are seeking to develop new methods of recycling our household items and reduce the waste we find in our water systems and landfills.

These new startups will undoubtedly partake in the global recycling intake process, requiring consumers to take action and recycle at newly started recycling centers. It may also require already existing scrap yards and waste management centers to take on new functions of recycling.

One example is E-Waste. Currently, this is not a widespread recycling function that most recycling companies provide pickup services for across the board. It’s also not something that most metal scrap yards partake in at the moment.

But with the stat that says, ‘1 ton of cell phones contains as much gold as 70 tons of gold ore,” it’s only a matter of time before we see this type of e-waste recycling take up space for recycling centers worldwide.

With these new ventures in recycling methods, there will indeed be space for new technologies and software development projects to ensure processes are scalable and streamlined.


Are you yet convinced that the recycling industry is growing? It’s companies like Metal to Money that are investing in new recycling industry software that is making the lives of small to medium scrap yard owners’ lives easier.

Also, as the global economy encourages more companies to use recycled materials, and simultaneously provide easy ways for consumers and companies to recycle their overflow of unused metals, the industry will continue to grow and feed itself perpetually.

Looking for ways to improve operations at your local scrap yard? Schedule a demo with Metal to Money today!

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