The World Steel Association (worldsteel) has highlighted the recyclability features of steel. Although steel is the easiest material in the world to recycle, many people are not aware of steel recycling and its benefits.
According to worldsteel, the magnetic property of steel results in easier extraction and separation by shredder. This makes steel the easiest material to recycle. For instance, the scrapping of end-of-life vehicles generates huge quantities of steel scrap. The steel products could be recycled infinite number of times without loss of inherent properties. Moreover, recycling promotes closed material loop and sustainability practices. On top of all of the above, steel recycling is also a major job creator.
The very process of steel recycling offers tremendous environmental benefits. As per estimates, every tonne of scrap recycled results in savings of nearly 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 1.4 tonnes of iron ore and nearly 740 kilograms of coal. The steel scrap is recycled to make new steel products. Currently, almost 85% of all end-of-life steel products are recycled. The steel recycling process uses only one-third of the energy when matched with the energy consumed for making steel from virgin materials.
Rough estimates suggest that nearly 630 million tonnes of steel is recycled every year. This is more than all other materials combined, thus making steel the true recycling champion, despite its long life span. The study conducted by John Dunham on behalf of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) indicates that the US scrap recycling industry alone accounted for recycling of 130 million metric tons of materials in 2014.