Steel is the most recycled material in the world. Steel is 100% recyclable and can be recycled continuously, at any point of its life, and does not lose any of its strength or durability.
At Superior Steel Fabrication, we strive to minimize our carbon footprint with respect to our surrounding ecosystem and actively participate in the sustainable building practices of the steel industry.
Sustainable Building Practices of the Steel Industry
Over the past few decades, the steel industry has been proactive in significantly reducing its greenhouse gas and overall emissions. It has also set a standard for wide-scale sustainable practices thanks to the steel industry’s incredible recycling rate and transparency.
The steel industry is the largest recycler by mass in the United States. On average, structural steel produced in the United States contains 93% recycled steel scraps.
Not only is steel an extremely recyclable material, it has an impressive track record of actually being recovered and recycled. 81% of steel products are recovered and recycled once they reach the end of their life. This far exceeds the recycling rates of aluminum, paper, and wood.
Recycling one ton of steel means the conservation of 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone.
All steel waste created through production or the fabrication process is recycled to create new steel products. Even dust from mill facilities is recovered and recycled. According to a recent survey of 900 steel fabricators, not a single of those fabricator sends steel waste to disposal facilities.
Water and Energy Conservation
At steel mill facilities, water consumption is very minimal. Although thousands of gallons of water are used to quench molten steel, less than 70 gallons are actually consumed. The rest is recycled and reused on a continuous loop.
The steel industry actively manages the use of energy. Energy conservation in steelmaking is crucial to ensure minimal environmental impacts. Steel saves energy over its many life cycles through its recyclability, durability, and lightweight potential. While steel requires energy to be produced, the energy saved throughout its many life cycles can be greater than the energy used during production.
Energy constitutes a significant portion of the cost of steel production, thus, improvements in energy efficiency result in reduced production costs. As renewable energy becomes a higher percentage of overall electricity production, the environmental impacts associated with steel production will decrease. Breakthrough technologies are expected to lead to major changes in the way steel is made by the year 2020.