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NA steel industry has recycled more than 1B tons of steel since 1988; 16.3M tons of automotive scrap in 2012

The North American steel industry has recycled more than one billion tons of steel since 1988, according to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

For 2012, the overall recycling rate for steel was 88% with nearly 84 million tons of steel recycled. This included the more than 1.3 million tons of tin plate steel—the equivalent of 21 billion steel cans, which were recycled at a rate of 72%, the highest among packaging materials. More than 16.3 million tons of automotive scrap were recycled at a rate of 92.5% in 2012—the equivalent of 11.5 million automobiles.

Automotive recycling rates. Source: SRI. Click to enlarge.

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%. Also, each year, based on construction and demolition industry estimates, about 98% of out-of-service construction plates and beams are recycled and 70% of rebar and other structural steel are captured for recycling through demolition and disassembly.

Since 1990, the steel industry has improved its energy efficiency per ton by 27& and has decreased its CO2 emissions per ton by 33%.

Established in 1988 as the Steel Can Recycling Institute, SRI was commissioned by the North American Steel Industry to develop an infrastructure for the recycling of steel cans and serve as a primary information and technical resource. By 1993, SRI’s focus had expanded beyond just steel cans to promoting and sustaining the recycling of all steel products. Today, these efforts continue along with credibly documenting the environmental performance of steel through life cycle studies.

To track the success of the recycling efforts, each year, the SRI calculates the recycling rates for steel and major steel products. Recycling rates for steel are generally released up to 18 months following the end of the calendar year as they are based on data released from: AISI Annual Statistical Reports, US Geological Survey, EPA Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste, National Automobile Dealers Association, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.



This is incredible. There are so many salvage yards in Texas who have so many scrap engines. If EPA doesn't force them to take some kind of action to recycle scrap from Used Engines and Automobiles, it will jeopardize our environment in coming years.

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