Steel is the world’s most recycled construction metal, and an estimated 40% of all steel production is based on recycled scrap. Over 500 million tonnes of steel are multi-cycled worldwide each year. Approximately 85% of structural steel is recycled and used as a scrap charge in furnaces, and 12% is used directly for new structures. Only 3% of all steel is lost to landfills or rust. Compared to other materials – such as concrete – when steel is removed during the building demolition, nothing is left un-salvaged. That means there is no residue to pollute the site in years to come – it has all been salvaged. Research shows that when steel is used instead of concrete in demolition and construction, steel offers a 19% reduction in CO2 footprint.
Steel is an iron alloy comprising of metals and non-metals, including carbon, iron, and tin. Like most metals, including aluminium, copper, and brass, it can be continuously recycled without damaging or degrading its properties—no matter the product or form it takes.
Reasons why to recycle steel
- Steel is a metal that can be infinitely recycled and is 100% recyclable without loss of quality.
- Steel scrap can be converted into high-value steel by using processing and metallurgy.
- Oxygen furnaces can be charged with up to 30% steel scrap.
- Electric furnaces can be charged with 100% steel scrap.
- New steel products contain an average of 37% recycled steel.
- Today’s steel can become tomorrow’s trains, cans, buildings or bridges.
Although we try to recycle as much steel as possible, there is still not enough recycled steel to meet the demand for new steel products.
While many steel products such as vehicles and packaging have a short to medium service life, large-scale products (bridges, buildings) are designed to last decades or centuries.
The most recycled metal in the world
Steel is straightforward to recycle; it is the most recycled material and the most sustainable metal in the world.
Steel and the circular economy
All available scrap steel is recycled over and over again to create new materials. Recycled steel maintains all properties of the original steel.
The steel used in construction has a very high rate of recycling at the end of life. For example, 87% of construction Steel in the UK is recycled, 10% is reused, and only 3% goes to landfill.
Recycling steel saves energy and reduces pollution
Recycling one ton of steel can save:
- 1.5 tonnes of iron ore
- 0.5 tonnes of coke
- 1.28 tonnes of solid waste
- Reduces air emissions by 86%
- Reduces water pollution by 76%
When looking at the packaging, it is essential to remember that food and drinks cans are not the only forms of steel packaging. From watercolours to biscuits to industrial paint, many products can be packaged in attractively decorated and different shaped steel containers. Scrap steel saves up to 74% of the energy needed to make new steel from virgin materials.
What is the difference between stainless steel and steel?
The difference between stainless steel and steel is its magnetic properties. Steel is highly magnetized, while stainless steel holds no magnetic properties at all. Steel is classed as ferrous metal as it contains iron (making it ferromagnetic), whereas stainless steel is a non-ferrous metal containing no iron and, thus, no magnetic properties.
Stainless Steel is known for corrosion resistance and has a higher melting point than other steel metals. That is why it is commonly used in healthcare equipment, food production, cars, and construction projects. On the other hand, steel will more commonly be found in household products such as hangers and appliances.
How much is scrap steel worth?
Steel prices change daily due to market supply and demand. Feel free to give us a call for an up to date metal price estimate for your scrap steel.
Where can I scrap steel?
Reclamet’s scrap yard is based in Birchington, Thanet, Kent. Taking your scrap steel directly to a yard will enable us to check the quality and weight before offering you a price on-site.
We also offer a local iron collection service for larger quantities of scrap metal covering Thanet and surrounding areas of Kent, including Acol, Ashford, Birchington, Broadstairs, Brooks End, Canterbury, Cliffsend, Cliftonville, Deal, Dover, Ebbsfleet, Faversham, Flete, Folkestone, Garlinge, Manston, Margate, Minster, Monkton, Newington, Palm Bay, Ramsgate, Reading Street, Sarre, Sevenscore, Sittingbourne, St Nicholas-at-Wade, St Peter’s, Westbrook, Westwood, Westgate-on-Sea and Whitstable.
Call Reclamet, The steel recycling specialists you can rely on:
Reclamet – The Recycling Centre
Thanet, Kent, England. CT7 0HL