New steel cannot be produced without recycling old steel. It’s a basic fact of domestic steel production. And for LTV’s Indiana Harbor Works in East Chicago, Indiana, it means more than 75 years of recycling.
Indiana Harbor Works has been producing steel since 1916. Located on approximately 1,200 acres of land bordering the southern tip of Lake Michigan, the mill annually produces more than 3.3 million tons of flat-rolled steel for use in steel products such as automobiles, appliances and cans.
All this steel is produced by the mill’s pair of basic oxygen furnaces. Steel scrap is combined with molten iron and other materials in each furnace to produce a “heat” of steel. Each heat takes about 45 minutes to make.
The mill obtains its supply of steel scrap from three sources: “home’ scrap, derived from the industrial manufacture of steel products; and “obsolete’ scrap, derived from steel products that have come to the end of their useful lives.
“Approximately half of the 25 percent steel scrap that is used to produce a heat of steel consists of obsolete scrap, the portion of steel scrap recycled from the solid waste stream,” said Ken Goodson, manager of steelmaking vessels at Indiana Harbor Works. “We obtain this scrap resource from communities across the country.”
Indiana Harbor Works purchases all grades of steel scrap from intermediate processors. Last year, the mill’s overall recycling efforts included more than 22,000 tons of steel cans. Densified bales of steel cans are shipped to the mill by rail or truck and stored outside. Rail cars transport the steel scrap to the mill’s basic oxygen furnaces to be recycled into new steel. In all, the mill recycled more than 932,000 tons of steel in 1992.