By means of a ‘Cycle of Matter’ model a comprehensive scrap cycle can be estimated for a region, country or continent. The model covers scrap flows between the three main actors defining the cycle, i.e. scrap users, scrap generators and scrap dealers. The ‘Cycle of Matter’ incorporates the generation and use of three types of scrap, i.e. home scrap, prompt scrap and obsolete scrap. It allows for a better assessment of the impact of government policies regarding scrap recycling in various parts of the scrap cycle. This paper presents the main results of a detailed study of the national scrap recycling industry of a developing country, Tanzania. The scrap flows in the ‘Cycle of Matter’ model were estimated on the basis of specially tailored surveys amongst scrap users, producers and traders, and on the basis of secondary data and coefficients derived from the literature. The paper demonstrates that the model is a powerful tool for the analysis of the scrap cycle. The study reveals that Tanzania possesses large surpluses of scrap. These surpluses are increasing over time. The scrap users — foundries and steel mills — are not capable of utilising all available scrap. Large quantities of scrap are thus either dumped in the environment or transferred abroad. Foundries and steel mills will only be able to make better use of existing scrap surpluses if they succeed in upgrading their quality of their production processes.