American Recycler News, Inc.


2011 steel recycling sets record

The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI) declared 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.

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.

SRI also provides resources to help consumers learn about how and where to recycle their steel products locally.