If someone asked you what the most recycled material in the world is, steel wouldn’t be the first thing to jump to mind. You might think plastic, or aluminum, but not steel, right?
Believe it or not, steel is actually the world’s most recycled material, boasting an extremely impressive 88% recycle rate (in 2012). That’s more than all other materials COMBINED.
When you really look at it, that number shouldn’t be all that surprising. Steel is an extremely versatile material that can be reused over and over again. Not only that, but almost every steel product that we use in our day to day lives can be recycled.
At the end of the day, it all adds up to about 80 million tons of steel recycled worldwide every year.
Still, even though the majority of new steel is created using old steel, the high demand for high quality steel products means that there’s still a need for new material.
Fortunately, the steel industry is increasing sustainability on the production end as well. The energy required to create new steel has been cut by 50% over the last 30 years.
This is mostly due to improvements in the technology used in production. Thanks to new advancements, steel production now creates less CO2 than most other metals, including aluminum and magnesium.
That’s not to say there isn’t any room for improvement. Further advancements in technology and production methods are moving us closer and closer to getting energy emissions as low as is physically possible.
The steel industry has made great strides in sustainability over the past few decades, and the future is looking bright.