North American steel recycling rate drops slightly

North American steel recycling rate drops slightly

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI) this week announced that 88 percent of North American steel was recovered for recycling in 2012, which is four percentage points lower than 2011 levels.

SRI reported on the recovery rates of specific grades of steel as well, showing more than 16.3 million tons of automotive scrap recycled at a rate of 92.5 percent in 2012. Tin plate steel, used to make steel cans for food packaging, among other items, had the highest recycling rate among packaging materials at 72 percent, or 1.3 million tons, recovered for recycling.

Typically, recycling rates signify the post-consumer recycling percentage for a given material, but SRI's yearly steel rates also account for post-industrial recycling and show the overall rate. A spokesperson for the organization said the trade group does not have data on post-consumer rates.

In announcing the latest figures, SRI also noted that more than 1 billion tons of steel have been recycled in the 25 years since the organization began tracking and promoting North American steel recycling efforts.

SRI's recycling numbers are based on data released from AISI's Annual Statistical Reports, the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. EPA Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste, the National Automobile Dealers Association, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

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