Friday, May 9, 2014

Going Green: Steel Fabricators Who Pioneered Recycling

Despite popular belief, recycling in the steel industry is nothing new. It’s been around for considerably longer than recycling has been popular. This is in large part because of the methods used to produce steel and the way those methods affect the product and profits. There are two primary ways to make steel:   

BOF, or basic oxygen furnace, which is used to make roughly 40% of current US steel. BOF uses considerably less recycled steel, at only a quarter to 35%.

EAF, or electric arc furnace, which is used to make roughly 60% or the current market. Compared to BOF, EAF uses nearly 100% recycled steel.

No matter which method you use, you will have to use older steel to make the product. It has led to a drive to exempt the industry from LEED requirements. Both of the methods use more recycled steel than required by LEED regulations, so it seems to be an unnecessary administrative process to those familiar with producing steel. 

Recycling of steel goes beyond simply reusing it in the production of new steel as well. Because of regulations for disposal of metals, steel producers have recycled scrap metal for a very long time. Any remaining metal can be sold as scrap, and while it does not make much, it does mean that the material is recycled as well as bringing in a little extra money.

The steel industry has been following many of the current recycling standards for far longer than those actions have been called “green.” The industry is unique and since resources are harder to acquire than things like cloth or cardboard, those who make it have been more concerned with reducing, reusing, and recycling as part of making a quality product at the least cost.

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