most common recycled metal is steel

The Most Commonly Recycled Scrap Metal 

Did you know that steel is the most commonly recycled metal used on the planet? It is found in automobiles, home furnishings, and everyday food packaging.  Steel is also used in huge industrial projects as well, such as bridge construction, commercial buildings, and pipelines.  The overall steel recycling rate in 2014 for construction was 98 percent for structural and 71 percent for reinforcement steels.  Through recycling, end-of-life products and structures can be made into new, raw materials with no degradation of its properties.  

Incentives to Recycle Scrap Metal

Many people are motivated by the financial incentives when it comes to recycling scrap metals.  Value can range greatly from metal to metal, copper being one of the most valuable.  The overall mission for recycling however, is to preserve natural resources while requiring less energy to create new products.  This offers a lower carbon footprint by emitting fewer dangerous gasses and less carbon dioxide.  Recycling can also cut down on production costs for manufacturing businesses while carving out room for new job opportunities within the companies.  

Some interesting facts about recycling steel:

  • Around 100 million steel and tin cans are used every single day in the United States.
  • More than 18,000 curbside, drop-off and buyback programs accept steel cans which provides 160 million American consumers with access to steel can recycling.
  • Recycled steel makes up just about 40 percent of worldwide steel production.
  • Close to 42 percent of crude steel in the United States is made of recycled components.
  • Steel makes up 95 percent of the recycling rate of automobiles, 70 percent recycling rate of steel packaging, and 88 percent recycling rate of appliances.

Can we move to using 100% recycled steel?

As important as it is to use recycled steel, it is actually necessary to continue to use some quantities of virgin materials.  This is because so many steel structures and products stay durable and in use for many decades at a time.  This creates ongoing steel demand for new materials.  The sources for steel scrap continue to be plentiful.  It surrounds us in our everyday lives.  From our home appliances and fixtures, to the buildings we work in and the bridges we drive over. 

Does your Arizona business create steel waste?

Give Consolidated Resources Inc a call at (623) 931-5009 and we’ll show you how you can efficiently recycle your scrap metal.

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steel bridge

The Wonderful World of Steel – Identifying & Recycling

At Consolidated Resources, Inc., we believe it’s important to educate our current and future customers about the materials they can recycle. Many business owners aren’t aware of the financial & environmental benefits of recycling their metal scrap. In this article we offer a brief introduction to the various grades and common types of steel, one of the many materials CRI processes.  

There are over 3,500 different grades of steel according to the World Steel Association.  Each grade has its own individual chemical and unique physical qualities.  By appearance alone, it can be tough to differentiate numerous types of steel.  Grading systems are used to distinguish steels based on their specific properties.

Common Grades of Recyclable Steel

The four basic grades are:

  • Mild Steel – used in pipe and steel framing 0.05% to 0.3% carbon

  • Medium Carbon Steel – forging and vehicle parts 0.3% to 0.6 % carbon

  • High-Carbon Steel – springs and wire 0.6% to 1% carbon

  • Tool Steel – cutting and drilling tools 1% – 2% carbon

The surface of steel must be protected, galvanized, or painted as it can easily rust. One common recognizable steel item is a galvanized trash can.  With ten percent or more chromium added to prevent rust, stainless steel, which is a carbon steel, can be used to hold hot liquids and food items.  It’s very prevalent within restaurant kitchens including countertops, silverware, and pots and pans.  Popular for its corrosion resistance, it’s about 200 times more resistant to corrosion than mild steel.

Carbon steel is widely used within the construction industry and can be used to make bridges, pipelines, and skyscrapers.  The inexpensive price point makes it easier to be the main component of such large projects.  Carbon steels account for 90% of total steel production.

Alloying elements which can be silicon, nickel, copper, and aluminum make up some of the internal components of alloy steels.  You can find alloy steels within auto parts, electric motors, rails, construction equipment, and wires.

Tool steels are often used in cutting and drilling equipment. They consist of cobalt, tungsten, molybdenum, and vanadium in shifting quantities, depending on needed staying power and heat resistance.

For more information about identifying different types of steel, visit these resources:

At Consolidated Resources, Inc., we strive to provide the very best industrial recycling solutions to Arizona businesses. If your business has any of the grades of steel described in this article or other scrap metals that can be recycled, give us a call at (623) 931-5009. Our goal is to increase the value of your scrap metal. We look forward to discussing your waste stream needs!