Steel recycling hits new high

Steel recycling hits new high

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI) today announced that North American steel recycling reached new heights in 2011.

According to the SRI, the recycling rate for steel reached 92 percent in 2011, with more than 85 million tons of steel scrap being consumed by the steel furnaces throughout North America.

"Each year, more steel is recycled than paper, aluminum, plastic and glass combined," noted the press release the group issued, which, while true, is more a reflection that steel is heavier than those materials.

Regarding recycling rates for specific segments of the material, steel packaging also reached an all-time high of 70.8 percent, with more than 1.5 million net tons of steel recycled. After several years of over 100 percent recycling rates, automobile recycling rates have stabilized at 94.5 percent. The over-100-percent figure means that more cars were coming off the proverbial road than new ones coming back onto it.

Appliance recycling (a 90-percent rate recovering more than 2.9 million net tons of steel) and construction (98-percent for construction plates and beams along and a 70-percent rate for construction rebar) remained stable, according to the SRI.

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