Category: Case History Page 2 of 4

Archive: Kirkwood Curbside Turns Steel into Profit in First Month

A man enjoys downtown KirkwoodOpposition to curbside recycling usually presents the argument of unnecessary cost as their primary reason. With looming economic questions, how can a community afford to begin a new program when there are so few funds to go around? In Kirkwood, Missouri they answered these questions by creating a curbside program and making it a revenue stream as well, thanks to steel.

Steel food and aerosol cans were among the recycled materials that were then resold for $15,245.78 revenue. Combining this with the $11,509.96 from landfill fees they avoided and the total net savings for January was $26,755.74, a truly great accomplishment for the program.

“We did not anticipate this high of a start,” says Todd A. Rehg, the Director of Public Works. The program was discussed for 18 months in advance to their January launch and after the first month they had recycled 44 percent of all trash collected from recycling households, practically cutting their waste stream in half.

Steel’s immense value has a sustainable resource made it a must-have inclusion into the program. Unlike competing materials, creating new steel out of recycled materials uses less energy then creating virgin material so there is always a high demand.

“Curbside recycling is important to a community to give that community a sense of accomplishment of recycling rather than overtaxing the landfills,” continued Rehg. “The inclusion of aerosol cans, for example, only adds an additional recyclable material that otherwise would go to the landfill.”

Prior to the launch of the curbside program, the only recycling option for steel products in the area was a single drop off location. While this provided some support, the ease and broader coverage of a curbside program is tough to rival. For every steel can that was thrown in the trash, rather then taken to the drop off location, we lost the potential power savings of watching television for an hour or powering a 60 watt light bulb for more than four hours.

If the success will last, it remains to be seen, but this type of early success should motivate late arrivals to join the curbside caravan in Kirkwood.

“Residents need to take pride in recycling and keep separating the recyclable materials from their trash,” concluded Rehg.

A program that helps the environment and saves money for residents is definitely something to be proud of.

Archive: GE & ARCA Partnership Will Boost Steel Appliance Recycling

General Electric Appliances & Lighting have reached an agreement with the Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA). This appliance recycling agreement will keep valuable steel from becoming landfill waste. This announcement teams along side the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program to responsibly dispose of refrigerators and other appliances by diverting them from landfills and into the recycling process.

Purchasing new and improved appliances not only increase energy efficiency around the house, the old and inefficient appliances they’re replacing are being put to excellent use as well. According to a recent GE survey, nearly 9 million refrigerators are disposed of every year in the United States. The average steel weight of a refrigerator is about 100 pounds and the annual steel recycling rate of appliances is 90%. That means roughly 45,000 tons of steel are being improperly discarded and are missed opportunities for new products.

Seventy percent of survey respondents also said they want all or part of their used appliance to be recycled. To make sure the consumers’ desires are met, GE will supply used appliances from several different states to ARCA’s Advanced Processing regional recycling center in Philadelphia. There they can recover 95% of insulating foam from refrigerators which will reduce landfill waste, green house gas emissions and ozone-depleting substances.

In addition they will continue to utilize the RAD program, which the EPA has run since 2006. They are working with partners such as municipalities, universities, utility companies and major retailers Sears and Best Buy, to accept old appliances and offer vouchers or rebates on bills or new purchases. This also benefits utility companies by removing old, inefficient appliances off the power grid. The force behind a company as large as GE will continue to improve on its already established success.
“GE’s commitment to develop and deploy solutions to today’s environmental challenges is a top priority,” the President and CEO of GE Appliances & Lighting, James Campbell, stated in a press release. “Working with the EPA and ARCA on responsible appliance disposal is another great step forward in the spirit of GE’s Ecomagination initiative.”

GE’s own Ecomagination, launched in 2005, has been an initiative aimed at presenting “green” solutions to global problems. In 2009, $1.5 billion was invested in research and development and the company has an expressed goal of putting forth an additional $10 billion by 2015. These investments have helped create such improvements as reducing green house gas emissions by 22 percent compared to 2004 and reducing water consumption 30 percent compared to 2006.

Those same goals and more are what ARCA has been pushing towards since it’s inception in the mid-1970s. They helped establish the nation’s first large scale appliance recycling center in 1989 and were also key members in shaping the EPA’s current RAD system.

“ARCA prides itself on innovation,” stated President and CEO Jack Cameron. “With GE’s logistics expertise and customer relationships and ARCA’s investment in this leading-edge technology, this partnership is a game-changer for U.S. appliance recycling.”

For more information on GE’s Ecomagination initiative, please visit http://www.ecomagination.com.

For more information the EPA’s RAD Program, please visit http://www.epa.gov/ozone/partnerships/rad/.

For more information on ARCA, please visit http://www.arcainc.com.

Archives: Rapid City Helping Raise Recycling Rates

Anybody who knows anything about steel will immediately remind you that it is North America’s Most Recycled Resource. Perhaps the most amazing part of that fact is that we can do better.

One way that the 83% recycling rate of steel is getting boosted is through manual landfill separation. When residents forget to responsibly dispose of their steel products, this can be another fail-safe to help minimize the lost product. Solid Waste Operations of Rapid City, South Dakota is looking to make a difference.

“The attempt to collect scrap steel from the landfill face has only been going on for the past three years,” says Karl Merbach, the Superintendent of Solid Waste Operations. “It was not until this year that we have been able to have a dedicated employee on the landfill operating face. This has only been possible through the use of a dedicated person supplied by the South Dakota Department of Corrections.”

Because of this dedicated person they were able to increase the amount of time spent on separating recycling from previous years of only about 20-30 hours per week to presently approximately 45-50.

“It was frustrating for staff to see the amount of steel being dumped just in our regular municipal solid waste and construction and demolition debris,” says Merbach. “For the past 6-7 years we have had a separate location for residential and small business customers to drop off their scrap metal at our material recovery facility at no charge. However, there was still a significant volume of scrap metal going to the landfill.”

The amount of shredder steel scrap that has been recovered has increased dramatically from it’s beginning in 2005, when 422 tons were recycled. Through only nine months this year, 631 tons have been recycled. With an onsite bailer, the processing of steel scrap for sale is a simple part of the process.

Most people around the country have multiple methods of recycling steel but many choose not to properly dispose of their steel cans, aerosol cans, or scrap steel. The infrastructure and processes are there but the responsibility falls mostly upon residents.

“[It] is very easy to drop off their scrap materials in Rapid City,” says Merbach. “Many are still throwing metals in residential and commercial trash containers. Education is a key to this process.”

The more residents are aware of their options, the more successful they can be at properly disposing their steel which will benefit all of us.

Archive: Historic Fitzpatrick Stadium Renovated Using Recycled Steel

Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland was host of the Maine State High School Championships last month. The action hasn’t stopped, however, as construction crews are dismantling and renovating the 6,300 seat multi-purpose stadium that has been around for over 20 years. Luckily, with the help of steel recycling, the costs will be drastically reduced.

“We stand to make [over $30,000 from recycling],” said Ethan Owens, Athletic Facilities, Playground & Courts manager for the Recreation Department of Portland. “The project still would have been done but at a much higher cost to us.”

The plan includes the demolition of the concrete and steel upper deck and to replace it with lower-level fixed seating, including group and picnic sections. The upper level will be replaced by an elevated section of suites, club seats and a press section.

“We are recycling a lot of the materials so we can pay for another construction company to take down the visitor’s side,” Owens was quoted as saying. “We are trying to minimize the cost of the demolition and off-set that with the recycling of the materials.”

The renovation process helped create the equivalent of 50 full-time jobs for almost nine months, or roughly 105,000 hours of labor. The majority of the existing facility will be demolished and reconstructed, using recycled steel in the process of rebuilding.

“We felt that we could re-coup some of our costs by recycling [old materials] and using recycled steel would be best,” said Owens.

When asked if future projects in Portland would involve recycling steel, Owens replied “Definitely.”

Archive: NYC’s Hearst Tower Rises High with Gold LEED-Certification

In New York City, a sea of skyscrapers and towering buildings, it’s sometimes tough to stand out in the crowd. The Hearst Corporation with their visually stunning and environmentally exceptional Hearst Tower has achieved just that while using steel to put it’s best environmental footprint forward.

Open since 2006, the tower utilizes a unique approach by preserving its original six story base from 1928. The additional 40 stories were built in an uncommon triangular framing pattern known as a diagrid and used 9,500 metric tons of structural, recycled steel.

“Steel was the most appropriate building material for this type of construction,” explained Lou Nowikas, Director of Operations, Real Estate and Facilities Planning, Hearst Corporation. “Hearst Corporation has long believed that environmental stewardship goes hand in hand with business.”

Steel always has a minimum of 25 percent recycled content and is fully recyclable again at the end of its long product life. As a result, the use of recycled steel as its frame helped the tower achieve New York City’s first ever Gold LEED-certified skyscraper. Hearst Tower was also awarded the Emporis Skyscraper Award as the Best Skyscraper completed in the world in 2006.

“It was the right thing to do,” continued Nowikas when asked about the Hearst Corporation’s commitment to environmental responsibility. “Obtaining the Gold LEED rating for Hearst Tower is a significant achievement and it proved that it was possible for an office building of this magnitude to be ‘green.’ We wanted to set a much higher standard for green building. The Tower has reduced pollution in New York City and increased conservation of the City’s water and electricity.”

The Hearst Tower was the first skyscraper to break ground post 9/11 and is now home to some the media conglomerate’s numerous publications including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Good Housekeeping.

“The commitment that we made with Hearst Tower speaks volumes about what we believe as a company and how much we value our employees and our environment,” said Nowikas. “Many people doubted that we would be able to build a Gold LEED-certified skyscraper, but we are proud that we have been able to show others that it’s possible.”

Update: The Hearst Tower has since been upgraded to Platinum status.

Archive: Steel Takes it to the Mattresses

The steel and scrap industries may, literally, be sleeping on a vastly untapped resource of recyclable steel. The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) is currently undergoing trials to mechanize the extraction of steel from old bed mattresses. If a quicker and more efficient method is found, an entirely new scrap source may emerge.

The business of mattress recycling isn’t currently a glamorous one. If steel is extracted, it’s done manually by hand with a knife. This manual process has been used in several markets over the past several years. Greg Conkins is a Goods Manager at Goodwill Industries in Duluth, Minnesota and has been dealing in mattress recycling for almost a decade.

“We tell employees to take apart 25 pieces a day,” explained Conkins. “But a box spring may only take 5 to 7 minutes while a king mattress might take 45.”

With this fluctuation in time, it’s tough to gauge an exact measure of productivity from manual labor. Ryan Trainer, President of ISPA believes their method has the potential to revolutionize the process.

Right now, with the majority of mattresses being sent to landfills, there is a large opportunity cost to these companies. A 2004 study entitled “Used Mattress Disposal and Component Recycling – Opportunities and Challenges” explained that compacted garbage weight compared to compacted mattresses created an opportunity cost of about $46.87 for every cubic yard of mattresses it accepted. It also explains other difficulties of accepting mattresses, “They do not compact well in reality and the springs of a mattress have a tendency to disable landfill equipment.”

ISPA estimates about 400,000 short tons of steel go into new mattresses annually. They also have some statistics that support for every 100 new mattresses; roughly 60 to 65 old mattresses are discarded. While Trainer says they have no goals for recycling yet, if they were to set a modest 5% goal that would be approximately 12,000 short tons a year. If the test projects continue to make ground then the amount of steel will surely grow.

The latest pilot test removed steel in a process similar to recycling tires. Using five workers per tire shredder, the mattresses were fed in and shredded and a magnetic separator pulls the steel from the waste stream, leaving the polyurethane foam as a second byproduct. Trainer says that using this method they were achieving about a unit per minute and could double the process with a few minor adjustments with an estimated output of 800-900 units per day.

“We feel our labor, mostly due to the feeding of the primary shredder, was not as efficient as it could be,” Trainer said. “The mouth is designed for tires so it took one, sometimes two, people to feed the mattresses. A bigger mouth probably could eliminate one or two people.”

Trainer also said because of the weight difference in tire scrap versus mattress “fluff”, materials would bounce off conveyers and a lot of time was spent feeding the fallen off material. He also said that using additional magnets would help the separation process after shredding and a mixture of fluff and steel was still a primary obstacle.

“The long term hope is that more and more companies are interested in getting into this industry,” Trainer said. “The way we’ve been operating so far is based on retailers and institutional customers like dorms, hospitals, hotels and prisons who would have bulk shipments of used mattresses directly to the processor.”

Some county landfills segregate mattresses as they come in to the drop off station, but the cost of transporting individual mattresses hinder the process a lot more then bulk shipments straight from companies.

ISPA’s next step is to continue working with new approaches and ideas. Recyclers, working in their area, plan to come together to brainstorm about improving methods soon. While the process is still being perfected, it’s clear that if there is steel, people will find a way to get to it and recycle it.

Archive: Waukegan Creating New Lakefront Property through Recycling

Waukegan’s Lake Michigan water front is getting a facelift. A 600,000 square foot area known as the Outboard Marine Corp (OMC) Superfund site is being deconstructed and a large portion of the estimated 5,000 tons of steel will be recycled for reuse.

OMC supplied outboard motors and powerboats from its Waukegan, Illinois location. Between 1961 and 1972, the company made extensive use of hydraulic fluids which contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). During this time the hydraulic fluid was discharged through floor drains into an oil receptor system.

The oil receptor system subsequently leaked to several of the surrounding areas. It is estimated that approximately 700,000 pounds of PCBs were discharged to the OMC site and approximately 300,000 pounds of PCBs were discharged to Waukegan Harbor.

As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated the former OMC site a “Superfund site” where extensive cleanup is taking place, including the removal of facilities on site.

The demolition project for the building is estimated to be about $21-25 million in cost due to the projected quantities of heavy materials destined for a landfill, including concrete and cinder block that will not be recycled. Recycling the steel from the OMC facility; however, will offset some of these costs and will actually yield some benefits.

According to EPA project manager Kevin Adler, ”we estimated that about 5,000 tons of steel would be obtained from the demolition. Of that, perhaps two-thirds could be recycled in local-area mills if not-too contaminated.”

“Recycling the steel saves landfill space, costs of disposal and has a smaller carbon footprint, when compared to new iron ore smelting.” Adler commented. “The taxpayer benefits from a lower cleanup cost as well.”

The 5,000 tons of steel that will potentially be recycled from the site is equivalent to the amount of steel used to build Cedar Point’s Millennium Force steel roller coaster, which has a lift hill of more than 310 feet and travels 92 mph.

The steel will be hauled to Gary, IN or other Chicago-area metal recyclers for recycling.

Work on the site will continue long after the steel has been recycled, but ultimately, the site will again be a valued area of Waukegan.

“Once all cleanup work is done,” says Adler. “The site will be redeveloped by the city of Waukegan into a mixture of commercial and residential properties.”

Archive: Cedar Rapids Receive Relief from Recycling Steel

It’s been two summers since a devastating flood hit Cedar Rapids, Iowa but the town took one more step forward in its full recovery by demolishing and recycling steel from the Sinclair/Wilson Meatpacking Plant.

The overall demolition, which began May 11th, will cost more then $15-million. A portion of that is being made back, however, through the recycling of steel. The steel will be sent to Alter Metal Recycling in Cedar Rapids with Riggs estimating a purchase market price of $100 to $120 a ton, allowing roughly $150,000 to be funded back after transportation and labor costs.

The 28 acre plant had approximately 28-30 buildings on the property and was condemned due to public safety following the flood. According to John Riggs, the Assistant Building Official for the City of Cedar Rapids, some areas had as much as 18 feet of water. Because of this, a small amount of the demolition costs were approved by FEMA as well.

“One of the submittals from DW Zinser was to recycle the salvageable steel and concrete foundations,” said Riggs. “Once evaluated and reviewed by both the State of Iowa and FEMA we set up a cleaning process. The State of Iowa Department of Natural Resources specified how we were to clean the 2,500 tons of steel to ensure all contaminants were removed prior to transport to the local recycling and salvage facility.”

The money that Cedar Rapids will receive back is not the only benefit from recycling the material. Riggs explains, “Other than the obvious reasons we wanted to keep as much steel out of our landfill as possible. It has been a benefit to the city and this project that the steel coming from this large 625,000 square foot commercial building can be recycled.”

The demolition, according to Riggs, is two weeks ahead of schedule. In regard to future demolitions in Cedar Rapids, “We have some other commercial [buildings] coming up in the future and my plan is to continue recycling the steel as much as possible.”

Archive: ArcelorMittal’s Energy Reduction Initiative Creating Sustainable Strides for Steelmaking

For, two straight years, steelmaker, ArcelorMittal USA has earned distinction as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year. This year, they received the highest honor as a Sustained Excellent Award winner. They are the only steel company to ever receive ENERGY STAR® recognition and they aren’t slowing down at all.

In January 2006, ArcelorMittal USA launched an Energy Reduction Initiative. Their primary focus being to conserve energy, and standardize the most efficient business practices. Since its inception, there has been a 4.1 percent energy reduction and $131 million in savings. A 10-year energy reduction plan is in works, to continue accomplishing these goals and savings.

One of their many projects is harnessing “wasted” energy that is continually being produced at their facilities. The largest blast furnace in North America is located at ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor facility with 46 billion cubic feet of gas flared annually instead of being reused. With the installation of an efficient recovery boiler, it will utilize the gas generated during the steelmaking process to produce electricity and steam on-site. It’s estimated that 3.66 trillion BTUs will be used annually from the waste gas, preventing it from being flared. This would have the same environmental impact of removing 62,000 cars from the road for a year, or powering 40,000 households over the same period.

The project required a commitment of $64 million, about half coming from the U.S. Department of Energy. The estimated completion date is March 2012 and will utilize a vast fuel source to produce electricity and reduce the company’s demand for purchasing electricity from less-efficient and environmentally conscious coal-fired power plants.

Meanwhile, changes continue to be made. In the past, four descale pumps were used in the hot strip mill to remove scale from the steel slabs. By only using three pumps, without risking any change in quality or performance, they would use less water and energy. There are improvements scheduled to take a second pump offline and ultimately save the company $1.4 million a year.

Also happening in Indiana Harbor, other technological advances were implemented including infrared cameras to detect gas leaks and optimized heat transfer properties. These improvements, among others, helped reduce natural gas consumption by more than 26 percent last year.

Less then 20 miles away, ArcelorMittal’s Global Research and Development Center has been working on a computer model to assess the economic impact of decisions by engineers and operations managers. It’s flexibility in being transferred and customized to individual plants have locations in Mexico and Canada expressing strong interest in implementing programs.

Several other mills continue to make advances in efficiency and energy conservation. One thing is for sure, ArcelorMittal has distinguished itself as a company leading the way towards a better tomorrow.

These initiatives include:

Cleveland, OH.
For many years, the Cleveland facility has had insufficient generator capacity available. The installation of an electric generator at one of the facility’s powerhouses will capture blast furnace gas, a byproduct of the steelmaking process, to generate valuable electricity. The new generator is more efficient and overall, the project will increase internal energy generation at the facility an average of about 15 megawatts, resulting in less power being taken from the power grid. This energy savings is enough to power 15,000 homes. This project utilizes the blast furnace by-product fuel more efficiently, reduces maintenance on the existing generators and will increase ArcelorMittal Cleveland’s power system reliability. The salvaged generator and turbine came from unused assets at other ArcelorMittal facilities and is expected to save $3 million in the first year.

Conshohocken, PA.
Over the past year, the facility worked closely with an onsite contractor to implement an automated energy management program in the rolling mill. With nearly no cost to implement, the project has resulted in a $1,300 per week savings in electricity costs plus additional benefits. The pump management system responds automatically to the facility operating delay cues. Since implementation, the program has saved more than 6,000 “pump run hours” and more than $130,000.

Similarly, ArcelorMittal Conshohocken added a VFD (variable frequency drive) on its descaling system which allows the 3500 HP motor to idle when the facility is not descaling – approximately 98 percent of the time. This upgrade will save more than $100,000 each year. The project has been shared as a best practice globally and across the U.S. Many of the practices are starting to be implemented in other U.S. plants.

Weirton, W.V.
ArcelorMittal Weirton has reduced its natural gas purchases by $5.5 million from 2007 to 2008 due to a number of projects. One project was the installation of a direct steam injection system and another project replaced missing insulation on steam lines and equipment thereby minimizing heat loss throughout the steam distribution system. The facility also lowered the operating pressures of its power boilers by 30 percent, which reduced the natural gas needed by 5 percent.

I/N Tek & I/N Kote, New Carlisle, Ind.
The plant’s steam requirements are supported by two 50,000 lb/hr package boiler and a waste heat boiler, which utilizes waste energy from the annealing furnace rated at 230 mmBtus/hr. Two capital projects to reduce energy use were recently completed and are now in service.

One replaced an economizer on one of the natural gas fired, water tube package boilers and the boiler controls with the addition of a stack oxygen sensor to increase controls. At current operating conditions and cost of fuel, the estimated cost savings for both of these improvements could be up to $50,000 each year.

The other project converted two roll heating furnaces from natural gas fired to electrically heated units. Now these furnaces can be operated with higher reliability and heating efficiency. The flexible and reliable control provided by the new furnaces will allow the facility to operate the furnaces only when needed, saving more than $30,000 annually.

Archive: PA Turnpike Bridge Demolished, Now the Real Work Can Begin

The road was only closed for a couple hours, the controlled implosion only took a few seconds, but the benefits of the recycled steel from Pennsylvania Turnpike Allegheny River Bridge (ARB) will go on for many years.

Craig White, the project manager for ARB, estimates about 4000 to 5000 tons of steel will be recycled from the truss, floorbeams and other materials of the old bridge. A single ton of steel recycled conserves 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone.

It took about 200 lbs. of explosives, set at 150 precut points, to bring down the bridge. Approximately 300 individual explosive charges will be used to cut the truss into manageable sections for removal. The truss will drop around 50 feet while 680 feet of steel will fall onto land and about 533 feet will fall into the river.

An estimated 48 hours will be needed to clear the river of debris. Steel from the river navigational channel will be removed to create a channel for river traffic in 24 hours. The steel on the island and causeway in the back channel will be cleared in about two weeks after the blast.

The ARB was built in 1950, when the turnpike was merely 10 years old. It will be replaced by a new Allegheny River Bridge, which is scheduled for completion this November.

The new bridge, designed by Figg Bridge Engineers, was inspired by local landscape features and includes a variable-depth superstructure and stone pattern on twin-walled, rectangular piers. It’ll include some 3,000 tons of steel reinforcement as well.

The cost of the demolition, contracted to J.B. Fay Co., is about $3.2 million including the deck, girders, truss, piers, and salvage value for the steel that is recycled. The cost of the new twin 2,350 foot long bridges to replace ARB is estimated at slightly above $193 million.

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