South Carolina has more than 170 companies involved in metal recycling from “mom and pop” scrap metal collectors that haul material and sell it to scrap yards, to the scrap metal processing facilities that prepare the material for end use as well as the mills that manufacture new products from recycled steel and aluminum.


The state’s recycling industry is strong. SC has 4 times more jobs per capita related to recycling than Massachusetts or California, both of which are recycling leaders. The state has over 520 recycling businesses that haul, process or manufacture recycled content materials. The state has robust plastics, metal, paper, textile, carpet, biomass, petroleum and rubber recycling industries. South Carolina is growing in its competitiveness by developing businesses in the following recycling sectors: glass, electronics, construction and demolition, organics and carbon fiber. Having additional processor and end-user capacity in these areas would ensure that new value-added products would be returned to the marketplace instead of landfilled.

As markets mature and develop, they can help to increase the state’s 2015 MSW recycling rate of 26.5%.


Fast Facts

  • Since 2010, the steel industry has added more than 10,000 jobs and currently employs 138,000 people. (ISRI)
  • South Carolina recycled 349,233 tons of metal in FY14. (DHEC)
  • The average revenue for local governments from aluminum is $1,285 per ton. (DHEC)
  • Metal accounted for 27.6% of municipal solid waste recycled in fiscal year 2014.
  • South Carolina local governments reported earnings of more than $2.6 million from the sale of metal in 2014. 
  • On average, more than 146 pounds of metal were recycled per person in South Carolina during FY14. (DHEC)