2010 steel recycling rate returns to normal

2010 steel recycling rate returns to normal

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

The recycling rate for scrap steel made a return to historic levels, according to a recently-released report by the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI).

According to the trade group, the overall recycling rate for "North America's most recycled material" — steel, that is — was 88 percent in 2010. The recycling rate for steel cans hit a new high of 67 percent.

The 88-percent rate was down from a 103-percent recycling rate for 2009, which was due to an excess of collection and a dearth of production that happened at the height of the Great Recession.

"As economic recovery continues, so does the demand for quality steel scrap," said Gregory Crawford, SRI's executive director in a release announcing the report. "While the 103-percent steel recycling rate for 2009 sounded impressive, it was reflective of an economy that was unbalanced with more scrap collected than steel produced. This 88-percent overall recycling rate for steel in 2010 signifies that scrap demand and steel production are getting back into balance."

Domestic steel production in 2010 was greater than 86 million net tons, while 76 million tons of steel scrap were consumed.

The SRI report was based on data released from the American Iron and Steel Institute Annual Statistical Reports, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the National Automobile Dealers Association, the U.S. EPA Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste and the U.S. Geological Survey.

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