Steel is a material that surrounds us daily and innovative ways to utilize steel are being realized constantly. The durability, versatility and flexibility of steel has been vital in creating buildings, bridges, and automobiles – nearly any structure you can imagine.
Structural steel produced in the United States contains 93.3% recycled steel scrap. At the end of a building’s life, 98% of all structural steel is recycled back into new steel products with no loss of its physical properties. As a result, structural steel isn’t just recycled but multi-cycled; meaning it can be recycled many times over.
Builders, architects, engineers and contractors are rapidly realizing the benefits of sustainable design and construction practices, which not only improves the longevity of the earth’s environment, but also the quality of the world we build.
LONG-TERM EFFECTS AND BENEFITS OF SUSTAINABLE STEEL
- Steel is recycled more than all other materials on the planet, combined with a remarkably high overall recycling rate. Recycling of steel can reach over 98% percent, with new materials being lighter and more efficient than past materials.
- Steel is magnetic, making it easily and affordably recycled. Because of steel’s physical properties, one product can be recycled into another without loss of quality, contributing to the material’s high recycling rate and affordability.
- LCA (life cycle assessment) shows that steel, which currently makes up about 60 percent of the average North American vehicle, generates fewer manufacturing emissions than other automotive body materials. Vehicles using high-strength steels provide significant reduction in driving emissions, as well as total life cycle emissions.
- Unlike alternative materials, there is an abundant amount of recycled steel (approximately more than 80 million tons per year) available to manufacture new steel products.
- Due to its physical properties, aluminum is not recycled across products and very little aluminum is produced from recycled structures. This means that any increased use of aluminum sheet must come from greenhouse gas intensive primary aluminum, which is approximately five times the greenhouse gas emissions of steel.