Everyone in the recycling industry is aware of the many benefits of recycled steel. It’s less expensive and more environmentally sound than drawing materials from nature, and its recyclability virtually endless.
A basic North American oxygen furnace uses anywhere from 25 to 35 percent recycled steel to make new flat-rolled steel used in products such as automotive fenders and appliances, cans, metal roofing and numerous other thin-gauge applications. The electric arc furnace uses more than 80 percent recycled steel to make new beams, plate, rebar and other structural and flat-rolled products. Most new steel products, including their original recycled content, will eventually feed back into the recycling stream.
Recycled steel has always been important in construction, but now it is finding new roles in structural applications as it helps improve energy efficiencies in commercial buildings and housing, becoming a high national priority for green buildings that seek to conserve resources and contribute to energy savings. On a smaller scale, this also applies to metals such as copper, aluminum and zinc, which are also recycled into new building materials.
In February, during his Penn State University speech, President Obama called for businesses to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings across the United States. ...read more
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New regulations combat increased metal theft
On Valentine’s Day, TV news reported that drainage grates were disappearing from the streets and parking lots in Clifton, New Jersey. Bronze plaques were also pried off war memorials. Gaps in the pavement created dangerous pedestrian hazards and the desecration of the memorials was heartbreaking for the community. Police attributed it to metal thieves and suggested that the culprits may be methamphetamine addicts looking to pay for a quick fix. Law enforcement experts believe that the majority of the thefts are crimes of opportunity rather than anything organized.
In a tough economy, however, and with the rising prices of scrap metals, random crimes of opportunity are aggravating the metal theft situation.
Unfortunately, increased metal thefts are happening at a time when state and municipal budgets are being stretched to pay for essential services. It also comes when hiring freezes and cuts in law enforcement are being imposed. The reality is that in many jurisdictions, more serious crimes take higher priority.
Gary Bush, the national law enforcement liaison director of material theft prevention at Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), spent 33 years in Florida law enforcement as a patrol officer, sergeant and field training supervisor.
In his last years in Florida, he was a metal theft investigator. In October, 2008 Bush joined ISRI. Today he oversees ScrapTheftAlert.com, ISRI’s web-based system that helps members and law enforcement catch thieves, recover materials and return them to the rightful owner.
“I handle most of the day to day operations for the system for the United States and Canada, approving alerts issued by recyclers and other stakeholders, vetting new officers into the system, and providing guidance to those using it. I’ve also developed an outreach plan, conducting workshops to help law enforcement and recyclers learn how we can help each other in combating metal theft.”
ScrapTheftAlert.com was established in mid-December 2008 as a modern version of ISRI’s original Fax Net System that dates back to the late 1970s. ...read more