Category: Press Release

News Release: 2011 Overall Steel Recycling Rate Hits All-Time High


2011 Overall Steel Recycling Rate Hits All-Time High

Record levels of steel scrap consumption announced on America Recycles Day

November 15, 2012, Pittsburgh, PA — In celebration of America Recycles Day, the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI) announced today that the recycling rate for the world’s most recycled material – steel – is at an all-time high of 92 percent. More than 85 million tons of steel scrap was consumed by steelmaking furnaces in 2011—an increase of nearly 10 million net tons versus 2010.

“This high level of scrap consumption is a reflection of the North American steel industry’s commitment to conserving energy and natural resources,” Gregory L. Crawford, executive director of SRI, said. “The use of steel in everyday products, including packaging, appliances, automotive and construction ensures quality while also supporting product stewardship, knowing that these products are routinely recycled at the end of their use, thanks to steel.”

Each year, more steel is recycled than paper, aluminum, plastic and glass combined, maintaining steel’s identity as North America’s most recycled material. This is reflected through the recycling rates of the quality products commonly made with steel.

The recycling rate for steel packaging has also reached an all-time high of 70.8 percent – with more than 1.5 million net tons of steel recycled. Automobile recycling rates have regained balance at 94.5 percent. This figure came after several years in excess of 100 percent – meaning more old cars had been coming off the road than new ones going back onto it.

Appliance recycling remained stable at 90 percent with more than 2.9 million net tons of steel recycled. Construction rates also remained stable with a recycling rate of 98 percent for construction plates and beams along with a rate of 70 percent for construction rebar.

Recycling rates for steel are generally released up to 18 months following the end of the calendar year as they are based on data released from: American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) Annual Statistical Reports, US Geological Survey, EPA Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste, National Automobile Dealers Association, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

“While steel continues to be North America’s most recycled material, there is still progress that can be made,” continues Crawford. “Educating recycling coordinators and consumers on the inclusion of materials, especially empty steel aerosol cans, will increase the overall tonnage for the industry. America Recycles Day is a great reminder to all of us that there is more that we can be doing to divert valuable resources from our nation’s landfills.”

America Recycles Day is November 15. The Steel Recycling Institute was a founding member and SRI would like to encourage all consumers to take the pledge to recycle at http://americarecyclesday.org/pledge/.

SRI also provides resources to help consumers learn about how and where to recycle their steel products locally. Visit the Steel Recycling Locator at recycle-steel.org for additional information.

“The Steel Recycling Locator is one of the most comprehensive resources for steel recycling available to the public,” says Crawford. “It contains more than 35,000 records that benchmark the recycling infrastructure for all steel products.”

About the Steel Recycling Institute

The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, is an industry association dedicated to communicating the sustainable efforts of the North American steel industry. The SRI educates the solid waste industry, government, business and ultimately the consumer about the benefits of steel’s recycling accomplishments and advancements in sustainability. For more information on the steel industry’s sustainable efforts visit www.recycle-steel.org or www.sustainable-steel.org. Or follow the SRI on Twitter @EnviroMetal.


Archive: U.S. Senate Passes Resolution to Reinforce Support for Recycling Nationwide

Pittsburgh, PA – 23 Nov. 2011: Steel, as North America’s #1 most recycled material, is applauding the U.S. Senate for passing Resolution 251 which expresses support for recycling, it’s positive impact on the US economy and reinforces the importance it plays in reducing green house gas emissions. The resolution was introduced by Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Co-Chairs of the Senate Recycling Caucus.

Messages of support for this resolution have come from organizations such as the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), AmericanIron and Steel Institute (AISI), and the Steel Recycling Institute(SRI), which shows steel plans to continue being a majority contributor to improving recycling numbers across the nation

“The steel industry has a vital role in recycling, with steel literally being the most recycled material in the U.S., as well as globally,” explained Thomas Gibson, President & CEO, AISI. “The extensive system of scrap processors and consuming steel mills throughout our nation provide a highly responsible end of life disposition for the steel in automobiles, containers, and construction materials. As old steel products become new steel products through recycling, the needs of people are fulfilled and we reduce impact on the planet.”

“The SRI sees the resolution as a welcome reminder that recycling is a win-win for individual citizens who participate and should do more,” remarked Greg Crawford, SRI Executive Director. “It is also important to material manufacturers and product producers who need more recycled feedstock to help reduce waste while saving energy and conserving natural resources.”

The country recycles steel at a rate of over 83% with specific products such as appliances (90%) and automotives (over 100%) even higher. Opportunities continue to grow by expanding product acceptance in curbside and drop-off programs, such as empty steel aerosol cans and empty steel paint cans. Many untrue myths or concerns continue to exist in the market about aerosol and paint cans that unnecessarily separates this potential valuable scrap from the stream. Recycling coordinators continue to find themselves at the demand of an increasingly informed public to include these locally.

“While this resolution is non-binding, we see it as just another in a growing list of very important indicators pointing out the rising – some might say, resurgent role – recycling has as a transformative US industry sector,” commented NRC President Mark Lichtenstein. “We do not equivocate when we say that we view recycling as absolutely essential in helping to build our new economy. This resolution supports that premise.”

The importance of a large influx of steel is important to the continuous life cycle of the industry, and therefore the economy. Old steel scrap is used to create new steel products which save energy and raw materials. In fact, for every one ton of steel recycled 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved. While many products claim to be recyclable, steel backs it up by being one of the few that is truly recycled.

The importance of recycling and this resolution may be as simple as acknowledging that both Senate Democrats and Republicans, together, unanimously passed this resolution. Gibson concluded, “This is clearly a significant part of our national endeavor that everyone can agree upon.”

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