Did you know that more steel is recycled every year than any other material? In fact, if you combined all of the other recycled materials on Earth, there would still be more recycled steel in a year.
Out of all the materials recycled in 2012, it made up 88 percent of the total; the other 12 percent consisted of all of the recycled plastic, paper, glass, and aluminum. According to the Steel Recycling Institute, between January 1, 2014, and November 20, 2014, more than 67,000,000 tons of steel had been recycled for new projects.
One of the reasons this is possible is that it has a number of metallurgical properties that allow it to be recycled over and over without any degradation in the material or in how well it performs. The steel used in a building can be recycled to be used in a car without any noticeable differences. A huge number of vehicles, appliances, and steel packaging is recycled every year and turned into new products without losing any quality.
There are many different places where recycled steel comes from. Much of it comes from demolished buildings and machines that have become obsolete. Some home scrap and prompt scrap is also thrown in. Home scrap is actually not scrap from within the homes. Instead, it’s the scrap that is left over from creating steel in the mills. This crap can be quickly recycled.
Prompt scrap is the term used for any steel bits and pieces left over from creating various components that is either too small or such an odd shape that it cannot be used for anything else. It’s also available fairly quickly after it is used in projects. Obsolete steel, however, may be in use for years or even decades before it’s recycled. However, it’s still perfectly usable.
In addition to recycling scraps, there are other by-products of the steel making process that can be recycled. The slags, processing liquids, water, and mill scale can all be recycled or reused. Sludge and dust can also go through a specific process so that the metals used in them, like zinc, can be reused.
Today, two-thirds of all new steel is actually created from recycled steel. However, due to the fact that many steel buildings and other structures may stand for decades and that the demand for steel continues to increase, new steel must also be manufactured.