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SRI Touts Recycling Success

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Association says more than 1 billion tons of steel have been recycled by the North American steel industry over the past 25 years.

Recycling Today Staff September 24, 2013

The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Washington, D.C., as announced that since the formation of the organization 25 years ago, more than 1 billion tons of steel have been recycled by steelmakers in North America.


SRI was commissioned by the North American steel industry in 1988 to develop an infrastructure for the recycling of steel cans and serve as a primary information and technical resource. By 1993, SRI’s focus expanded beyond steel cans to promote the recycling of all steel products.

"For a quarter century, SRI has been the local face of the steel industry, providing advocacy, information and assistance in facilitating increases in the recycling of major steel products, including cans, cars, appliances and construction materials,” says Gregory Crawford, SRI executive director.

The SRI says the overall recycling rate for steel was 88 percent with nearly 84 million tons of steel recycled in 2012. This included the more than 1.3 million tons of tin plate steel, which were recycled at a rate of 72 percent, the highest among packaging materials. More than 16.3 million tons of automotive scrap were recycled at a rate of 92.5 percent in 2012.

Other rates, including appliance and construction products are based on industry estimates of retail and scrap collections, including the more than 2.7 million tons of appliance steel recycled in 2012 at an estimated 90 percent. Also, each year, based on construction and demolition industry estimates, about 98 percent of out-of-service construction plates and beams are recycled and 70 percent of rebar and other structural steel are captured for recycling through demolition and disassembly.

“The steel industry’s internationally recognized energy efficiency, coupled with the recycling rate that is the highest of any material, proves our commitment to sustainability and resource conservation,” says Thomas Gibson, president and CEO of AISI. “For 25 years, steel’s recycling successes have been spearheaded by the SRI and we look forward to another quarter century, where steel leads social, economic and environmental advances.”

The commitment to collect and recycle steel has been inherent to steelmaking for nearly as long as steel has been made in North America. This is reflected through external scrap collection for recycling and by extensive recycling of byproducts of the steelmaking process.

“Our company, along with the entire steel industry, has a long history in recycling steel. We recycle many of our byproducts such as slag and blast furnace gas and are committed to continue to look for additional recycling opportunities,” says Ronald Kostyo, vice president and general manager of Severstal Dearborn.

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