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2008 overall steel recycling rate hits all time high

The Steel Recycling Institute has announced today that the overall steel recycling rate for the world’s and America's, most recycled material steel reached a record high of 83.3%.

This means that more than 82 million tonnes of domestic steel scrap was charged into furnaces, both in the United States and abroad, to make new steel products to be used by the steel industry's customers in meeting consumers' needs.

It is important to note that the steel recycling rates are for 2008. Steel recycling rates are compiled based on data from scrap processors, steel producers, the US Geological Survey and the US Environmental Protection Agency, which can take up to a year to compile.

The first three quarters of 2008 marked high levels of production and scrap usage in the United States and that, along with a full year of high levels of steel scrap exporting, contributed to these record numbers. These high levels of production drew upon record levels of steel scrap, as new steel simply is not made without steel scrap.

Mr Bill Heenan president of Steel Recycling Institute said that "All new steel made in the North America contains a minimum of 28% steel scrap with some processes using upwards of 90% steel scrap to make new steel. Steel continues to be recycled at a higher volume than paper, plastic, glass, copper and aluminium combined, and the steel can still holds the distinction of being food’s and beverage's most recycled container."

More than 1.5 million tonnes of steel containers were recycled in 2008 at a rate of 65.2%, while more than 14.8 million tonnes of steel was recycled from automobiles at a rate of 106 percent. Recycling rates for automobiles are often near or over 100% as older vehicles being recycled are often heavier than new cars which are more fuel efficient through use of advanced high strength steels, which are now available to automobile manufacturers.

Appliance recycling rates remained stable at 90% as did structural steel at 97.5%, while construction reinforcement steel increased slightly to 70%. These steel recycling rates accomplish much more than simply saving landfill space. For every ton of steel recycled, 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved.

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