The benefits of recycling scrap metal are numerous, and environmentally and economically necessary. But did you know that steel is the most recycled metal in the world? There is a strong probability that you use recycled steel every day, whether it’s in the car you drive or perhaps it’s the package your food came in. So as you can imagine the benefits of recycling steel are significant.
One of the benefits of recycling steel is that it reduces the consumption, expenses, energy, and time to mine other valuable resources. For every ton of recycled steel, it saves one and a half tons of iron ore, half a ton of coal, and 40 percent of the water normally used in the production process. By using ferrous scrap rather than virgin materials in the production of iron and steel, CO2 emissions are reduced by an astounding 58 percent.
Additionally, the more steel is recycled, the less space it takes up in landfills. Over time, this means a cleaner environment and fewer health concerns from contaminated soil or groundwater.
Fun Fact: If you were to stack all the steel cans recycled every year, they would reach to and the moon and back more than three times.
Ferrous Metal Recycling: Steel
Steel is considered a ferrous metal and in 2017 alone, ferrous scrap processed in the U.S. was valued at $15.9 billion. And the top exports for that year included 5.3 metric tons of shredded steel scrap, 4.3 metric tons of #1 heavy melting steel, over half a million metric tons of #2 heavy melting steel, half a million metric tons of cut plate and structural steel, and nearly three fourths of a metric ton of alloyed non-stainless steel.
One of the major benefits of recycling steel is the fact that steel can be recycled over and over again without losing its innate strength. Because it retains its natural qualities no matter how many times it’s recycled, recycled steel can be used in everything from construction to cars without the quality being compromised.
If you’re wondering what percentage of a steel item is recycled, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the 2014 recycling rate for cars was nearly 100 percent, for structural steel it was a cool 98 percent, and for rebar and reinforcement steel it was 71 percent.
Most of the obsolete recycled ferrous scrap is recovered from cars, steel structures, railroad tracks, ships, and farm equipment. However, prompt scrap, which is generated from industrial and manufacturing sources, accounts for approximately half of the ferrous scrap that is recovered.
The Impact That Recycling Steel Has
We already touched on some of the benefits of recycling steel but what is the overall impact? As we mentioned before, in 2017 the processed ferrous scrap in the U.S. was valued at a whopping $15.9 billion, which amounts to about 66 million tons of ferrous scrap. Just to give you an idea of what that looks like, on average, the United States processes enough ferrous scrap daily, by weight, to build 25 Eiffel Towers every single day of the year.
Additionally, the United States exports ferrous scrap to more than 75 countries worldwide which means more of an economic boost for us. This also means that steel mills, both domestic and foreign, foundries, and other industrial consumers have come to rely on ferrous scrap as an environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient material to be used in the production of new steel, construction, and various products.
GLE Scrap Recycles Steel
Steel can easily be recycled. Unlike some other metals, steel doesn’t have to be sorted by size or color when it is recycled so, when it comes to recycling steel, a little effort can go a long way.
If you have scrap steel that is ready to be recycled, contact an experienced recycler like GLE Scrap Metal. As a full-service and all-in-one recycling company, we currently recycle over 250 million pounds of scrap metal each year and are focused on increasing recyclable tonnage in the years ahead.
We have operations throughout the U.S. and a trained logistics team that handles our expansive fleet of trucks as well as equipment for jobs of any size, at any facility.