Modern Steel Construction » Steel in the News » One Billion Tons of Steel Recycled over Past Quarter Century

Steel in the News

Back to all posts

One Billion Tons of Steel Recycled over Past Quarter Century
Posted by Tasha Weiss on September 27, 2013 at 10:43 AM.

More than one billion tons of steel have been recycled by the North American steel industry since 1988, according to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). SRI marks its 25th anniversary this year with this milestone achievement and its release of the 2012 steel recycling rates.


2012-steel-recycling-rates_page_1.jpgFor 2012, the overall recycling rate for steel was 88% (click on left infographic to enlarge) with nearly 84 million tons of steel recycled. This included rates on appliance and construction products, which are based on industry estimates of retail and scrap collections.


On the structural side, based on construction and demolition industry estimates, about 98% of out-of-service structural plates and beams are recycled every year.


The steel industry’s recycling accomplishments are also at the core of other environmental advances by the North American steel industry. Since 1990, the steel industry has improved its energy efficiency per ton by 27% and has decreased its CO2 emissions per ton by 33%—making North American steel an environmentally-preferred material which aids its customers in improving the environmental performance of their products.
“The steel industry’s internationally recognized energy efficiency, coupled with the recycling rate that is the highest of any material, proves our commitment to sustainability and resource conservation,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI. “For 25 years, steel’s recycling successes have been spearheaded by the SRI and we look forward to another quarter century, where steel leads social, economic and environmental advances.”


SRI also provides resources to help consumers learn about how and where to recycle their steel products locally. See its Steel Recycling Locator for additional information.
You can learn more about structural steel and sustainability on AISC’s website at

Bookmark and Share