There are many benefits associated with recycling steel in the United States. Recycling steel products and materials helps to reduce energy consumption and pollution, while lowering the cost for processing these materials. Cost savings get handed down by the manufacturers to the consumer, reducing the overall cost for products across the board. In other words, recycling steel is a really great concept on a number of environmental and financial levels.
Recycling Steel in the United States
According to recent data released by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, approximately 150 million metric tons of scrap materials are recycled in our country each year. As much as 85 million tons of these recycled materials are composed of iron and steel.
In addition to iron and steel, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries states that approximately 5.5 million tons of aluminum and 1.9 million tons of copper are recycled, along with 2 million tons of stainless steel, 1.2 million tons of lead anD 420,000 tons of zinc are recycled annually. Other metals that are commonly recycled include magnesium, tin, bronze and brass.
Statistics show that the scrap metal recycling industry is a valuable source of profit and jobs in the United States. According to published data, in 2008 over 85,000 Americans worked in the scrap metal recycling industry and approximately $86 billion in revenue was generated. That same year, the United States exported nearly 44 million metric tons of scrap materials and products, which amounted to nearly $29 billion in revenue.
Environmental Benefits of Recycling SteelA considerable amount of energy is saved when scrap metal is recycled and reused compared to the energy that is consumed through the mining and processing of virgin materials. Studies show that over 55% of energy is saved by using recycled steel, 90% of energy is saved through the use of recycled copper and a whopping 92% is conserved due to recycled aluminum use.
In addition to conserving energy, other natural resources are conserved through the use of scrap metal recycling as well. Some of the other benefits of recycling steel include a reduction in use of coal, iron ore and limestone. Statistics show that 120 pounds of limestone, 1400 pounds of coal an 2500 pounds of iron ore are conserved every time one ton of steel is recycled.
How Businesses are Using Recycled Steel
A little known fact is that nearly all of the steel that is produced today around the world uses at least some form of content that has been recycled. For example, if you were to purchase a steel product, such as a gas stove, it is in most cases create out of recycled steel. That means that the steel can you recycle from your dinner today could end up becoming a part of your new stove tomorrow.
Some other examples of products that are manufactured with recycled steel include:
- cars and trucks
- guard rails
- utility poles
- construction materials
- household appliances
- industrial tools
- cans for food and other products
- office equipment, such as desks an filing cabinets
- bridges and overpasses
- fire hydrants
Recycling Over and Over Again
The best benefits of recycling steel is that it is what is known as an “infinite” process. Steel does not lose any of its strength, quality or durability when it is recycled. In some cases raw materials are mixed in during the manufacturing process, however the primary use of recycled steel makes the process of creating construction, industrial, commercial and residential products much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
More steel is recycled in America than any other type of metal product, more than glass, plastic, aluminum and paper combined. We are currently at the highest recycling rate for steel than we have ever been and signs are good that the numbers will continue to increase in future years. For example, appliance recycling is at approximately 90% and holding, while vehicle recycling is at nearly 95%, thanks to recycling initiatives promoted by our federal government.
The construction industry has a good record for recycling as well. Nearly 98% of all construction beams and plates are recycled and approximately 70% of all rebar materials are recycled as well. The steel industry has always worked well with construction, industrial and manufacturing businesses to establish a solid record of recycling. Recent statistics show that over 50% of all the steel that has been produced in the United States in the last 50 years has been recycled.
Where to Purchase Recycled Steel Materials and Products
Fortunately for businesses operating in the Southeastern Massachusetts area, there is a convenient location to purchase recycled, used and surplus steel in Westport. Mid City Steel has been a family owned and operated business for decades, supplying high quality materials to customers throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. A second location in Bozrah, CT makes it even easier for customers to get the materials they need when they need them.