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Recycling Export Boom Turns Green Into Gold
CNBC.com | November 11, 2011 | 04:26 PM EST

"Buy American" is back.

At least when it comes to recycled scrap materials.

Scrap materials are now the nation's largest export category by volume, and continue to set yearly records, with nearly $30 billion in recycled commodities — notably metals and paper fiber — moving overseas, up from $22 billion in 2009.

“Scrap exports play a vital role for the recycling industry specifically, and also generally for the U.S. economy,” says BobGarino, vice president at Export Tax Advisors, a firm that helps U.S. firms export scrap.

The export boom is part of a broader growth spurt.

The U.S. scrap recycling industry has “clearly recovered from the depths of 2008 and 2009,” says Garino, a recycling vet with decades in the sector.

Industry revenue rose to $77 billion in 2010, up 43 percent from $54 billion in 2009.

Trash To Cash

Canaccord Genuity’s cleantech analyst Eric Prouty says several critical global trends —economic growth overseas, high commodities demand, higher energy costs and better recovery technologies — are “creating what we call a ‘perfect storm’ scenario for the recycling industry.”

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