How to Recycle Steel

by Guna seelan - Date: 2007-09-14 - Word Count: 434 Share This!

In North America, the most common material recycled is Steel. Counting back to more than 150 years ago the steel industry has recycled such materials on a daily basis in mass quantities due to the economical advantages. Since recycling is far more economically smart than paying workers to mine the iron ore and go through the procedures of production to form new steel which is no better than recycled. This is because while recycling no physical properties are lost during the process and requires far less energy and materials than if we were to refine from iron ore into new steel. The annual consumption of energy has been reduced by more around 75% each year due to the recycling of steel. To understand how much energy this is, nearly eighteen million homes could be powered for one whole year. In 2005 alone over 76 million tons of steel was recycled. For each ton of recycled steel, 630k kilograms of coal, 55kg of limestone, and 1,100kg of iron ore is saved.

In the past years, about 75% of all produced steel has been recycled. Most industrial steel such as structural plates and beams are recycled 97.5% of the time in 2004 and 2005. For other varieties of steel elements like reinforcement bars the recycling rate is a bit lower at 65%. Due to this high recycle rate most structured steel usually contains about 95% recycled content. Lighter, flat rolled steel only contains roughly 30% recycled materials. Since steel beams are made to be a standard dimension, a small amount of waste is produced while in construction. The little amount that is produced during construction can be recycled. Steel has advantages over wood in many ways. A few are stability, quality, and for economic reasons. A normal 2000 square-foot two-level house would use about five to six recycled cars for its steel frame. On the other hand using wood can require up to if not more than 40-50 trees.

Each year the demand for steel strengthens. There is a fair amount of steel that exists today and most is actively used daily. However, recycled steel has to be augmented by a "first-use" metal, extracted from raw materials. Automobiles, cans, appliances are a few of the more common steels recycled daily. Typical automobiles are roughly 66% iron and steel and appliances are a smaller amount lower at 65% steel by weight. Recycling the steel usually happens through the interlaced steel mills and the standard oxygen routine. Most steel is normally electrically melted by a furnace or for high alloyed products a furnace for induction is used.

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