By Eric J. Stuart
Vice President, Environment & Energy
Steel Manufacturers Association
Recycled ferrous scrap typically constitutes over 90 percent of the material input of electric arc furnace (EAF) steel producers, aka “minimills.” The recycling of steel scrap in EAFs plays an important role in the conservation of energy. On a per-ton basis, steel produced from melted scrap requires roughly one-third of the energy consumed in the production of steel from iron ore. The recycling of steel scrap also reduces the burden of disposal in landfill facilities and prevents the accumulation of otherwise abandoned steel products.
US minimills are America’s largest recyclers. Steel is recycled five times more than the sum of all other metals combined, including aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, chromium and zinc. The high rate of recyclability of steel in EAFs is one of North America’s best environmental success stories.
Steel is recycled five times more than the sum of all other metals combined, including aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, chromium and zinc.
Minimills are the major growth component of the North American steel industry. While much of the industry has shrunk over the past three decades, the minimill share of US steel production has continued to grow, from 10 percent in the 1960s, to roughly two-thirds of US production today.