We’ve got a winner on our hands. Steel is the most recycled material on the planet. It’s so recyclable that it’s done at a higher rate than all other materials combined. And that’s a good thing. Here’s why.
Few things have the ability to be endlessly reused. Over time, elements are lost and the substance degrades. That’s simply not the case with steel. And it’s why two out of every three tons of steel produced worldwide is recycled material.
Easy to Reuse
It’s very easy to extract iron and steel from refuse and scrap metal. It’s magnetic. Once it’s separated, it can be melted down and recast. When melted in an electric arc furnace, nothing else is needed to transform the old steel into something new.
Recycling steel is cost effective because mining new iron ore is expensive and hazardous. When you recycle a single ton of steel, you save:
- 1.5 tons of iron ore
- Half a ton of coke (It’s made by baking coal until it becomes carbon.)
- 1.3 tons of solid waste
What’s more, recycling steel reduces the emissions produced by 86 percent, and water pollution by 76 percent.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are more than 2,000 landfills in the United States alone. It’s estimated that more than 80 percent of what’s in these landfills could have been recycled. Take motor oil, for example. Like steel, it’s nondegradable. It just gets dirty and it can be recycled.
Each year more than 500 million tons of steel are recovered and recycled. Much of it otherwise would end up in our landfills.
Steel that can be recycled is classified into three main categories:
- Home scrap
- Prompt scrap
- Obsolete scrap
It gets the name based on how quickly it can be reused. Home scrap, for example, is steel that might be ready for reuse again within weeks. Prompt scrap may be available in months or a few years. Then there’s obsolete scrap, which might stay in use for many decades before it’s available for recycling.
Miracle Truss® uses recycled steel for our buildings. We also proudly support the Go Green Initiative. Read more about it here. Our buildings are made in one of the most efficient factories in the country, and we have nearly four decades of steel engineering expertise backing our design. It’s one of the reasons our buildings cary a 50-year frame warranty. Take a digital tour!