Thursday, December 16, 2010

Historic Fitzpatrick Stadium Renovated Using Recycled Steel

Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland was host of the Maine State High School Championships last month. The action hasn’t stopped, however, as construction crews are dismantling and renovating the 6,300 seat multi-purpose stadium that has been around for over 20 years. Luckily, with the help of steel recycling, the costs will be drastically reduced.

“We stand to make [over $30,000 from recycling],” said Ethan Owens, Athletic Facilities, Playground & Courts manager for the Recreation Department of Portland. “The project still would have been done but at a much higher cost to us.”

The plan includes the demolition of the concrete and steel upper deck and to replace it with lower-level fixed seating, including group and picnic sections. The upper level will be replaced by an elevated section of suites, club seats and a press section.

“We are recycling a lot of the materials so we can pay for another construction company to take down the visitor's side,” Owens was quoted as saying. “We are trying to minimize the cost of the demolition and off-set that with the recycling of the materials.”

The renovation process helped create the equivalent of 50 full-time jobs for almost nine months, or roughly 105,000 hours of labor. The majority of the existing facility will be demolished and reconstructed, using recycled steel in the process of rebuilding.

“We felt that we could re-coup some of our costs by recycling [old materials] and using recycled steel would be best,” said Owens.

When asked if future projects in Portland would involve recycling steel, Owens replied “Definitely.”

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Response to Aluminum vs. Steel Recycling by 1800Recycle

Today I saw an article By Melissa Hincha-Ownby pushed through 1800Recycling.Com comparing steel and aluminum recycling. The article seemed to start with the assumption that putting one item in your curbside recycling bin would be any easier than placing another. 
Recycling paper products is as easy as putting them in your recycling container and dropping them off at a neighborhood collection center. Unfortunately, recycling metals isn’t always as simple.
Fact is, that the vast majority of Americans have very easy, convenient access to recycle many common household materials, including paper, plastics, glass, aluminum and steel. 


Not a single one of the materials are more difficult than others to put into recycling bins--unless you get into having to separate different types of papers, plastics and/or glasses. 
According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel is the most recycled material in North America, due in part to the fact that steel (like most of its metal counterparts) can be recycled infinitely and it is used in a variety of applications and industries. While a good portion of steel comes from the commercial sector, there are also residential sources for steel recycling, including appliances and the steel in our autos.
Steel is indeed the most recycled material in the world, and it's definitely not because it is difficult to recycle. 


Fact is, that the steel food can (which the article forgot to mention) has the highest recycling rate of any food/beverage package at 65 percent. This is largely because the steel can is recyclable through more than 95 percent of our nation's curbside recycling programs. In fact, more than 150 million Americans have convenient curbside access to recycling steel in more than 7,500 curbside programs. And, that's just the cans.
However, recycling an old refrigerator or the rust bucket in the back yard isn’t exactly quick and easy. There are hazardous waste guidelines that must be adhered to, so you’ll have to do some research to find a scrap metal recycler in your area that can take these items off your hands. Once you find a location, you’ll have to tackle the challenge of transporting the item. While steel is the most recycled material in North America, it isn’t the easiest to recycle.
Consumers rarely, if ever, have a direct hand in recycling their appliances or cars. It's left to the professionals who have made it quite easy for consumers to offload their cars and appliances. 


When cars get their last trade-in, or if they're taken to the "junk yard," their cars are actually being dismantled for any reusable parts, stripped of any wastes or non recyclables, then shredded into fist-sized chunks of steel, and, yet again, recycled. This is entirely handled by licensed professionals and it is as easy as a trade-in or a trip to the scrap processor to start the recycling process.


It is also quite easy for consumers to recycle their appliances. Most often, consumers send away their old appliances with the delivery company that brings their new appliance. It's that easy for them. These delivery companies take the appliances, in bulk, to processors which efficiently remove any refrigerants and non-recyclables. And, like their car cousins, they are shredded into small chunks of steel which are recycled as well.
On the opposite end of the consumer-recycling-ease spectrum is aluminum. Aluminum isn’t heavy, so there isn’t going to be a significant cost to transport the product and most residential recycling programs readily accept aluminum cans.
Most consumers aren't toting around their recyclables. The same, rare consumers that MIGHT carry them around would find similar ease in recycling their steel food packages as their aluminum beverage cans.
For the most part, aluminum is one of the easiest metals to recycle from the consumer standpoint. Too bad steel isn’t as simple to recycle as aluminum.
Melissa really should've done her homework here! Steel is very easily recycled because of its magnetic attraction. Therefore, steel cans, as well as all forms of steel scrap, are easily pulled from any commingled recyclables or other non-recyclables, by magnets. No sorting needed like paper, plastics, aluminum and glass. The separated steel is efficiently used by steel companies to offset the consumption of raw materials and even energy. 


So, there is a reason that more steel is recycled each year than paper, plastic, glass and aluminum combined -- it is because steel is easy for all to recycle.


Just in case you need help in finding a location to recycle your steel, check out the Steel Recycling Locator. The Locator tracks more than 30,000 steel recycling options throughout the US and will tell you the location closest, and easiest to you to recycle your steel. 


We are always available to help you learn the facts about steel recycling. Please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NYC’s Hearst Tower Rises High with Gold LEED-Certification

In New York City, a sea of skyscrapers and towering buildings, it’s sometimes tough to stand out in the crowd. The Hearst Corporation with their visually stunning and environmentally exceptional Hearst Tower has achieved just that while using steel to put it’s best environmental footprint forward.

Open since 2006, the tower utilizes a unique approach by preserving its original six story base from 1928. The additional 40 stories were built in an uncommon triangular framing pattern known as a diagrid and used 9,500 metric tons of structural, recycled steel.

“Steel was the most appropriate building material for this type of construction,” explained Lou Nowikas, Director of Operations, Real Estate and Facilities Planning, Hearst Corporation. “Hearst Corporation has long believed that environmental stewardship goes hand in hand with business.”

Steel always has a minimum of 25 percent recycled content and is fully recyclable again at the end of its long product life. As a result, the use of recycled steel as its frame helped the tower achieve New York City’s first ever Gold LEED-certified skyscraper. Hearst Tower was also awarded the Emporis Skyscraper Award as the Best Skyscraper completed in the world in 2006.

“It was the right thing to do,” continued Nowikas when asked about the Hearst Corporation’s commitment to environmental responsibility. “Obtaining the Gold LEED rating for Hearst Tower is a significant achievement and it proved that it was possible for an office building of this magnitude to be ‘green.’ We wanted to set a much higher standard for green building. The Tower has reduced pollution in New York City and increased conservation of the City’s water and electricity.”

The Hearst Tower was the first skyscraper to break ground post 9/11 and is now home to some the media conglomerate’s numerous publications including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Good Housekeeping.

“The commitment that we made with Hearst Tower speaks volumes about what we believe as a company and how much we value our employees and our environment,” said Nowikas. “Many people doubted that we would be able to build a Gold LEED-certified skyscraper, but we are proud that we have been able to show others that it’s possible.”

Update: The Hearst Tower has since been upgraded to Platinum status.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Your Recycling Program Forbids the Steel Lids?

This blog is from an article I wrote for the Pennsylvania Recycler for a section they do to address myths related to recycling. The article was a hit with them. Thought you might be able to use the information as well. It's on myths related to the recycling of steel lids and closures...

Your Recycling Program Forbids the Steel Lids?
They May Be Dealing With Information That Is On the Skids

This edition of Mythbusters will bring “closure” to concerns about recycling the steel can’s sidekick—steel lids. Is there a quid pro quo as far as steel lids go? Let’s take a look.

More than 95 percent of all canned foods are packaged in steel containers. This package includes the steel lids that are used to lock in the freshness of the can’s contents.

Each year nearly 30 billion steel cans are produced. And, in recent decades, the steel can has gone from being considered a recyclable reject to the most recycled food and beverage container in North America. Today, more than 145 million Americans can recycle their steel cans in more than 7,500 curbside recycling programs accepting steel cans.


This success has had some notable consequences—namely bringing more than 18 billion cans a year into recycling bins and giving steel cans the recycling rate of 65% for 2007. That’s a more than 430% increase in the steel can recycling rate since 1988!

But, for some, it seems a flap in this success story still lingers with questions of what to do with the steel lids that, well, are a part of the package.

With the high-tech equipment and handling of every type of recyclable that goes through the bins, careful considerations are made about anything that comes into the bin.

We’ve heard some rattling around about dated concerns about lids creeping their way into the bins. But, consensus seems to be that steel lids have been recycled along with their cans as long as cans have been in the bin. So, the myths about lids would seem to be BUSTED right out of the can.

But, given that the lids are a part of the package and this IS Mythbusters, we wanted to take a look at some of these concerns just to see if they have mettle.

M: Lids are small and inconsequential, are they worth recycling at all?
A: Each year, 2.3 million tons of steel go into making new steel cans and lids. The lids can represent up to 5% of the weight of the can. That 5% represents nearly 115,000 tons of steel that would simply be excluded. For every ton of steel recycled, more than 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1000 pounds of coal and 40 pounds of limestone are conserved. So, to blanket exclude steel lids and closures is to essentially consume an additional 115,000 tons of iron ore, 115,000,000 pounds of coal and 40,000 pounds of limestone. This is on top of the more than 29% energy savings that comes to the steelmaking process via recycling. A quick look at our scales and natural resources says the myth of recycling steel lids being inconsequential weighs in at BUSTED!

M: Lids have sharp edges and pose a risk to handlers
A: Steel lids have a good thing going for them. They’re made of steel. Thanks to their steel, they’re subject to magnetic attraction. So, while even in the most mixed of mixed waste facilities where some materials need to be identified and sorted by hands, magnets are still run over the belts which automatically separates steel cans of all sorts, as well as their steel lids. This means that any lids that may be loose in the bins often go untouched by human hands from collection to processing thanks to bins, belts and steel’s magnetic attraction. The facts seem to cut right through this myth, we declare it BUSTED!

M: The steel lids are small and loose and can get caught in equipment or belts.
A: Steel lids are undoubtedly small, as are the thin walls of their cans—especially when they’ve been flattened as they are in many commercial facilities. The fact is, as programs strive to capture every bit of recyclable material, all recyclables are getting smaller, and the equipment being used to sort and process these recyclables are sealed, protected and walled to prevent any wondering recyclables. As indicated in our test above, steel’s time on the sorting belts is very limited. Normally, right out of the chute, steel is pulled from the stream by magnets and is quickly condensed with other steel scrap on its way to be processed. We’ve heard the talk. We’ve looked into it. When it comes to the concern that size matters when it comes to processing, the lids have material over size. This myth is BUSTED!

The common theme with many of the myths concerning lids seems to be related to their size and mobility as they move through the recycling process. I spoke to Gregory L. Crawford, Vice President of Operations for the Steel Recycling Institute. Mr. Crawford says if you’re having trouble bringing closure to your concerns about lids, there are some steps you can take to minimize these concerns.

Try talking to the programs that are collecting steel cans. They often have open channels of communications with their customers on what they put into their bins. Ask them to encourage consumers that when cans are opened, to stop short of removing the lid--instead leaving a small part connected so the lid can be tucked back inside the can.  But on the chance that the lid is completely removed, it can be put back into the can and then the top of the can can be crushed by foot so the lid doesn't fall out.

In all, given the established success of recycling steel cans and their lids for more than 20 years, we consider these myths collectively BUSTED!

The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, is an industry association dedicated to communicating the sustainable efforts of the North American steel industry. The SRI educates the solid waste industry, government, business and ultimately the consumer about the benefits of steel’s recycling accomplishments and advancements in sustainability. For more information on the steel industry’s sustainable efforts visit: www.recycle-steel.org or www.sustainable-steel.org.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Steel Takes it to the Mattresses

The steel and scrap industries may, literally, be sleeping on a vastly untapped resource of recyclable steel. The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) is currently undergoing trials to mechanize the extraction of steel from old bed mattresses. If a quicker and more efficient method is found, an entirely new scrap source may emerge.

The business of mattress recycling isn’t currently a glamorous one. If steel is extracted, it’s done manually by hand with a knife. This manual process has been used in several markets over the past several years. Greg Conkins is a Goods Manager at Goodwill Industries in Duluth, Minnesota and has been dealing in mattress recycling for almost a decade.

“We tell employees to take apart 25 pieces a day,” explained Conkins. “But a box spring may only take 5 to 7 minutes while a king mattress might take 45.”

With this fluctuation in time, it’s tough to gauge an exact measure of productivity from manual labor. Ryan Trainer, President of ISPA believes their method has the potential to revolutionize the process.

Right now, with the majority of mattresses being sent to landfills, there is a large opportunity cost to these companies. A 2004 study entitled “Used Mattress Disposal and Component Recycling – Opportunities and Challenges” explained that compacted garbage weight compared to compacted mattresses created an opportunity cost of about $46.87 for every cubic yard of mattresses it accepted. It also explains other difficulties of accepting mattresses, “They do not compact well in reality and the springs of a mattress have a tendency to disable landfill equipment.”

ISPA estimates about 400,000 short tons of steel go into new mattresses annually. They also have some statistics that support for every 100 new mattresses; roughly 60 to 65 old mattresses are discarded. While Trainer says they have no goals for recycling yet, if they were to set a modest 5% goal that would be approximately 12,000 short tons a year. If the test projects continue to make ground then the amount of steel will surely grow.

The latest pilot test removed steel in a process similar to recycling tires. Using five workers per tire shredder, the mattresses were fed in and shredded and a magnetic separator pulls the steel from the waste stream, leaving the polyurethane foam as a second byproduct. Trainer says that using this method they were achieving about a unit per minute and could double the process with a few minor adjustments with an estimated output of 800-900 units per day.

“We feel our labor, mostly due to the feeding of the primary shredder, was not as efficient as it could be,” Trainer said. “The mouth is designed for tires so it took one, sometimes two, people to feed the mattresses. A bigger mouth probably could eliminate one or two people.”

Trainer also said because of the weight difference in tire scrap versus mattress “fluff”, materials would bounce off conveyers and a lot of time was spent feeding the fallen off material. He also said that using additional magnets would help the separation process after shredding and a mixture of fluff and steel was still a primary obstacle.

“The long term hope is that more and more companies are interested in getting into this industry,” Trainer said. “The way we’ve been operating so far is based on retailers and institutional customers like dorms, hospitals, hotels and prisons who would have bulk shipments of used mattresses directly to the processor.”

Some county landfills segregate mattresses as they come in to the drop off station, but the cost of transporting individual mattresses hinder the process a lot more then bulk shipments straight from companies.

ISPA’s next step is to continue working with new approaches and ideas. Recyclers, working in their area, plan to come together to brainstorm about improving methods soon. While the process is still being perfected, it’s clear that if there is steel, people will find a way to get to it and recycle it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Waukegan Creating New Lakefront Property through Recycling

Waukegan’s Lake Michigan water front is getting a facelift. A 600,000 square foot area known as the Outboard Marine Corp (OMC) Superfund site is being deconstructed and a large portion of the estimated 5,000 tons of steel will be recycled for reuse.

OMC supplied outboard motors and powerboats from its Waukegan, Illinois location. Between 1961 and 1972, the company made extensive use of hydraulic fluids which contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). During this time the hydraulic fluid was discharged through floor drains into an oil receptor system.

The oil receptor system subsequently leaked to several of the surrounding areas. It is estimated that approximately 700,000 pounds of PCBs were discharged to the OMC site and approximately 300,000 pounds of PCBs were discharged to Waukegan Harbor.

As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated the former OMC site a “Superfund site” where extensive cleanup is taking place, including the removal of facilities on site.

The demolition project for the building is estimated to be about $21-25 million in cost due to the projected quantities of heavy materials destined for a landfill, including concrete and cinder block that will not be recycled. Recycling the steel from the OMC facility; however, will offset some of these costs and will actually yield some benefits.

According to EPA project manager Kevin Adler, ”we estimated that about 5,000 tons of steel would be obtained from the demolition. Of that, perhaps two-thirds could be recycled in local-area mills if not-too contaminated.”

“Recycling the steel saves landfill space, costs of disposal and has a smaller carbon footprint, when compared to new iron ore smelting.” Adler commented. “The taxpayer benefits from a lower cleanup cost as well.”

The 5,000 tons of steel that will potentially be recycled from the site is equivalent to the amount of steel used to build Cedar Point’s Millennium Force steel roller coaster, which has a lift hill of more than 310 feet and travels 92 mph.

The steel will be hauled to Gary, IN or other Chicago-area metal recyclers for recycling.

Work on the site will continue long after the steel has been recycled, but ultimately, the site will again be a valued area of Waukegan.

“Once all cleanup work is done,” says Adler. “The site will be redeveloped by the city of Waukegan into a mixture of commercial and residential properties.”

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cedar Rapids Receive Relief from Recycling Steel

It’s been two summers since a devastating flood hit Cedar Rapids, Iowa but the town took one more step forward in its full recovery by demolishing and recycling steel from the Sinclair/Wilson Meatpacking Plant.

The overall demolition, which began May 11th, will cost more then $15-million. A portion of that is being made back, however, through the recycling of steel. The steel will be sent to Alter Metal Recycling in Cedar Rapids with Riggs estimating a purchase market price of $100 to $120 a ton, allowing roughly $150,000 to be funded back after transportation and labor costs.

The 28 acre plant had approximately 28-30 buildings on the property and was condemned due to public safety following the flood. According to John Riggs, the Assistant Building Official for the City of Cedar Rapids, some areas had as much as 18 feet of water. Because of this, a small amount of the demolition costs were approved by FEMA as well.

“One of the submittals from DW Zinser was to recycle the salvageable steel and concrete foundations,” said Riggs. “Once evaluated and reviewed by both the State of Iowa and FEMA we set up a cleaning process. The State of Iowa Department of Natural Resources specified how we were to clean the 2,500 tons of steel to ensure all contaminants were removed prior to transport to the local recycling and salvage facility.”

The money that Cedar Rapids will receive back is not the only benefit from recycling the material. Riggs explains, “Other than the obvious reasons we wanted to keep as much steel out of our landfill as possible. It has been a benefit to the city and this project that the steel coming from this large 625,000 square foot commercial building can be recycled.”

The demolition, according to Riggs, is two weeks ahead of schedule. In regard to future demolitions in Cedar Rapids, “We have some other commercial [buildings] coming up in the future and my plan is to continue recycling the steel as much as possible.”

Monday, August 9, 2010

Naples Salvage Yard Thriving in Bad Economy

Naples News (Naples, FL) has written an excellent article on the Garden Street Iron & Metal scrap yard in Fort Myers, FL. Despite the tough times, they continue to be successful.

Here is an excerpt:

Near one of the openings in the warehouse’s walls, a man with white hair sits at a folding plastic table, pencil in hand.

It’s Earl Weber, the founder of the company, who just turned 80.

Today, he sits at a folding table with a clip board. A jar of hot sauce from the workers’ lunch sits beside it. Every few minutes, a man drives a small forklift onto a scale in front of him to deposit a container with steel for weighing. The businessman notes the weight, subtracts the container’s weight and adds it to the total.

“We ship all over the world,” he says. “You name it, we ship it.” He says it with pride. Ask him when he’s going to retire and he’ll say “Never.”

“When you enjoy doing something it’s not work,” he says, before turning back to his weights and calculations.

The rest of the article can be read here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

ArcelorMittal's Energy Reduction Initiative Creating Sustainable Strides for Steelmaking

For, two straight years, steelmaker, ArcelorMittal USA has earned distinction as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year. This year, they received the highest honor as a Sustained Excellent Award winner. They are the only steel company to ever receive ENERGY STAR® recognition and they aren’t slowing down at all.

In January 2006, ArcelorMittal USA launched an Energy Reduction Initiative. Their primary focus being to conserve energy, and standardize the most efficient business practices. Since its inception, there has been a 4.1 percent energy reduction and $131 million in savings. A 10-year energy reduction plan is in works, to continue accomplishing these goals and savings.

One of their many projects is harnessing “wasted” energy that is continually being produced at their facilities. The largest blast furnace in North America is located at ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor facility with 46 billion cubic feet of gas flared annually instead of being reused. With the installation of an efficient recovery boiler, it will utilize the gas generated during the steelmaking process to produce electricity and steam on-site. It’s estimated that 3.66 trillion BTUs will be used annually from the waste gas, preventing it from being flared. This would have the same environmental impact of removing 62,000 cars from the road for a year, or powering 40,000 households over the same period.

The project required a commitment of $64 million, about half coming from the U.S. Department of Energy. The estimated completion date is March 2012 and will utilize a vast fuel source to produce electricity and reduce the company’s demand for purchasing electricity from less-efficient and environmentally conscious coal-fired power plants.

Meanwhile, changes continue to be made. In the past, four descale pumps were used in the hot strip mill to remove scale from the steel slabs. By only using three pumps, without risking any change in quality or performance, they would use less water and energy. There are improvements scheduled to take a second pump offline and ultimately save the company $1.4 million a year.

Also happening in Indiana Harbor, other technological advances were implemented including infrared cameras to detect gas leaks and optimized heat transfer properties. These improvements, among others, helped reduce natural gas consumption by more than 26 percent last year.

Less then 20 miles away, ArcelorMittal’s Global Research and Development Center has been working on a computer model to assess the economic impact of decisions by engineers and operations managers. It’s flexibility in being transferred and customized to individual plants have locations in Mexico and Canada expressing strong interest in implementing programs.

Several other mills continue to make advances in efficiency and energy conservation. One thing is for sure, ArcelorMittal has distinguished itself as a company leading the way towards a better tomorrow.

These initiatives include:

Cleveland, OH.
For many years, the Cleveland facility has had insufficient generator capacity available. The installation of an electric generator at one of the facility’s powerhouses will capture blast furnace gas, a byproduct of the steelmaking process, to generate valuable electricity. The new generator is more efficient and overall, the project will increase internal energy generation at the facility an average of about 15 megawatts, resulting in less power being taken from the power grid. This energy savings is enough to power 15,000 homes. This project utilizes the blast furnace by-product fuel more efficiently, reduces maintenance on the existing generators and will increase ArcelorMittal Cleveland’s power system reliability. The salvaged generator and turbine came from unused assets at other ArcelorMittal facilities and is expected to save $3 million in the first year.

Conshohocken, PA.
Over the past year, the facility worked closely with an onsite contractor to implement an automated energy management program in the rolling mill. With nearly no cost to implement, the project has resulted in a $1,300 per week savings in electricity costs plus additional benefits. The pump management system responds automatically to the facility operating delay cues. Since implementation, the program has saved more than 6,000 “pump run hours” and more than $130,000.

Similarly, ArcelorMittal Conshohocken added a VFD (variable frequency drive) on its descaling system which allows the 3500 HP motor to idle when the facility is not descaling - approximately 98 percent of the time. This upgrade will save more than $100,000 each year. The project has been shared as a best practice globally and across the U.S. Many of the practices are starting to be implemented in other U.S. plants.

Weirton, W.V.
ArcelorMittal Weirton has reduced its natural gas purchases by $5.5 million from 2007 to 2008 due to a number of projects. One project was the installation of a direct steam injection system and another project replaced missing insulation on steam lines and equipment thereby minimizing heat loss throughout the steam distribution system. The facility also lowered the operating pressures of its power boilers by 30 percent, which reduced the natural gas needed by 5 percent.

I/N Tek & I/N Kote, New Carlisle, Ind.
The plant’s steam requirements are supported by two 50,000 lb/hr package boiler and a waste heat boiler, which utilizes waste energy from the annealing furnace rated at 230 mmBtus/hr. Two capital projects to reduce energy use were recently completed and are now in service.

One replaced an economizer on one of the natural gas fired, water tube package boilers and the boiler controls with the addition of a stack oxygen sensor to increase controls. At current operating conditions and cost of fuel, the estimated cost savings for both of these improvements could be up to $50,000 each year.

The other project converted two roll heating furnaces from natural gas fired to electrically heated units. Now these furnaces can be operated with higher reliability and heating efficiency. The flexible and reliable control provided by the new furnaces will allow the facility to operate the furnaces only when needed, saving more than $30,000 annually.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PA Turnpike Bridge Demolished, Now the Real Work Can Begin

The road was only closed for a couple hours, the controlled implosion only took a few seconds, but the benefits of the recycled steel from Pennsylvania Turnpike Allegheny River Bridge (ARB) will go on for many years.

Craig White, the project manager for ARB, estimates about 4000 to 5000 tons of steel will be recycled from the truss, floorbeams and other materials of the old bridge. A single ton of steel recycled conserves 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone.

It took about 200 lbs. of explosives, set at 150 precut points, to bring down the bridge. Approximately 300 individual explosive charges will be used to cut the truss into manageable sections for removal. The truss will drop around 50 feet while 680 feet of steel will fall onto land and about 533 feet will fall into the river.

An estimated 48 hours will be needed to clear the river of debris. Steel from the river navigational channel will be removed to create a channel for river traffic in 24 hours. The steel on the island and causeway in the back channel will be cleared in about two weeks after the blast.

The ARB was built in 1950, when the turnpike was merely 10 years old. It will be replaced by a new Allegheny River Bridge, which is scheduled for completion this November.

The new bridge, designed by Figg Bridge Engineers, was inspired by local landscape features and includes a variable-depth superstructure and stone pattern on twin-walled, rectangular piers. It’ll include some 3,000 tons of steel reinforcement as well.

The cost of the demolition, contracted to J.B. Fay Co., is about $3.2 million including the deck, girders, truss, piers, and salvage value for the steel that is recycled. The cost of the new twin 2,350 foot long bridges to replace ARB is estimated at slightly above $193 million.

Here is a video of the demolition:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Historic Memorial Coliseum Comes Down But Its Steel Will Go On

The Memorial Coliseum in Corpus Christi was a state-of-the-art venue constructed in September of 1954. At the time, the boasted the world’s longest unsupported span roof at 224 feet using 260 tons of structural steel. After nearly 60 years of service, the coliseum is now set for demolition, but through recycling, parts of this landmark will live on.

When its deconstruction is completed on schedule in August, that same steel that enabled a record-setting unsupported span roof will live on thanks to recycling.

Jerry Shoemaker of RH Shackelford, the Project Manager of the Memorial Coliseum deconstruction and a retired Lieutenant Commander of the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps, says he pushes for recycling on his demolition projects.

“[Recycling materials] is pretty standard since the 90’s,” says Shoemaker. “The processes are down and the vendors that want the materials use it as an opportunity. Ones that do it best are the ones that bid the best.”

In addition to the sustainable benefits of steel and its recyclability, the landfill space not being used is a positive as well. “We encourage, strongly encourage [contractors to recycle], because we also own the landfill. We told them we wouldn’t be accepting steel at the landfill. We’ve limited their opportunities to push them towards that recycling.”

Shoemaker has nearly 30 years of experience in the field and agrees that steel’s ease of recycling is a benefit, “Steel is easier to recycle, easier to pick it up, haul it off, control it and dispose it. Concrete on the other hand has got its challenges. Steel holds the better opportunity.”

With the continued reuse of steel in the industry, it’s become a standard in almost all structures and Shoemaker’s experience confirms that: “I can’t recall any projects that didn’t have some steel, it’s a good material.”

The Memorial Coliseum was uniquely designed by Richard S. Colley, and has been featured in dozens of media outlets, including international publications, for its exceptional construction. Its deconstruction is now receiving media interest for its responsible recycling of steel and other materials.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Your Recycling Program Forbids the Steel Lids?

Note: this is from an article I wrote a while back for the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania for a segment they do on breaking recycling myths. I thought this might be of interest to other recycling coordinators as well. 
Your Recycling Program Forbids the Steel Lids?
They May Be Dealing With Information That Is On the Skids

This edition of Mythbusters will bring “closure” to concerns about recycling the steel can’s sidekick—steel lids. Is there a quid pro quo as far as steel lids go? Let’s take a look.

More than 95 percent of all canned foods are packaged in steel containers. This package includes the steel lids that are used to lock in the freshness of the can’s contents.

Each year nearly 30 billion steel cans are produced. And, in recent decades, the steel can has gone from being considered a recyclable reject to the most recycled food and beverage container in North America. Today, more than 145 million Americans can recycle their steel cans in more than 7,500 curbside recycling programs accepting steel cans.


This success has had some notable consequences—namely bringing more than 18 billion cans a year into recycling bins and giving steel cans the recycling rate of 65% for 2008. That’s a more than 430% increase in the steel can recycling rate since 1988!

But, for some, it seems a flap in this success story still lingers with questions of what to do with the steel lids that, well, are a part of the package.

With the high-tech equipment and handling of every type of recyclable that goes through the bins, careful considerations are made about anything that comes into the bin.

We’ve heard some rattling around about dated concerns about lids creeping their way into the bins. But, consensus seems to be that steel lids have been recycled along with their cans as long as cans have been in the bin. So, the myths about lids would seem to be BUSTED right out of the can.

But, given that the lids are a part of the package and this IS Mythbusters, we wanted to take a look at some of these concerns just to see if they have mettle.

M: Lids are small and inconsequential, are they worth recycling at all?
A: Each year, 2.3 million tons of steel go into making new steel cans and lids. The lids can represent up to 5% of the weight of the can. That 5% represents nearly 115,000 tons of steel that would simply be excluded. For every ton of steel recycled, more than 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1000 pounds of coal and 40 pounds of limestone are conserved. So, to blanket exclude steel lids and closures is to essentially consume an additional 115,000 tons of iron ore, 115,000,000 pounds of coal and 40,000 pounds of limestone. This is on top of the more than 29% energy savings that comes to the steelmaking process via recycling. A quick look at our scales and natural resources says the myth of recycling steel lids being inconsequential weighs in at BUSTED!

M: Lids have sharp edges and pose a risk to handlers
A: Steel lids have a good thing going for them. They’re made of steel. Thanks to their steel, they’re subject to magnetic attraction. So, while even in the most mixed of mixed waste facilities where some materials need to be identified and sorted by hands, magnets are still run over the belts which automatically separates steel cans of all sorts, as well as their steel lids. This means that any lids that may be loose in the bins often go untouched by human hands from collection to processing thanks to bins, belts and steel’s magnetic attraction. The facts seem to cut right through this myth, we declare it BUSTED!

M: The steel lids are small and loose and can get caught in equipment or belts.
A: Steel lids are undoubtedly small, as are the thin walls of their cans—especially when they’ve been flattened as they are in many commercial facilities. The fact is, as programs strive to capture every bit of recyclable material, all recyclables are getting smaller, and the equipment being used to sort and process these recyclables are sealed, protected and walled to prevent any wondering recyclables. As indicated in our test above, steel’s time on the sorting belts is very limited. Normally, right out of the chute, steel is pulled from the stream by magnets and is quickly condensed with other steel scrap on its way to be processed. We’ve heard the talk. We’ve looked into it. When it comes to the concern that size matters when it comes to processing, the lids have material over size. This myth is BUSTED!

The common theme with many of the myths concerning lids seems to be related to their size and mobility as they move through the recycling process. I spoke to Gregory L. Crawford, Vice President of Operations for the Steel Recycling Institute. Mr. Crawford says if you’re having trouble bringing closure to your concerns about lids, there are some steps you can take to minimize these concerns.

Try talking to the programs that are collecting steel cans. They often have open channels of communications with their customers on what they put into their bins. Ask them to encourage consumers that when cans are opened, to stop short of removing the lid--instead leaving a small part connected so the lid can be tucked back inside the can.  But on the chance that the lid is completely removed, it can be put back into the can and then the top of the can can be crushed by foot so the lid doesn't fall out.

In all, given the established success of recycling steel cans and their lids for more than 20 years, we consider these myths collectively BUSTED!

The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, is an industry association dedicated to communicating the sustainable efforts of the North American steel industry. The SRI educates the solid waste industry, government, business and ultimately the consumer about the benefits of steel’s recycling accomplishments and advancements in sustainability. For more information on the steel industry’s sustainable efforts visit: www.recycle-steel.org or www.sustainable-steel.org.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Homestead House Utilizes Steel for Unique, Efficient Design

“I can’t think of a material I would rather use in my experimental work then steel.”

Michael Jantzen has designed numerous architectural wonders in the last 40 years and one of his more recent is a steel structure inspired by one of his earliest pieces.


Called the Homestead House, the structure is designed using, in Jantzen’s words, “commercially available steel, prefabricated, modular, high strength, low cost arch building system normally used for agricultural purposes.”

“Back in the 1970s and 80s I had built a number of houses that were constructed from agricultural components,” says Jantzen. “These components were primarily steel roofs used to cover grain silos. Since then I have been interested in exploring the use of these components further because of the low cost and high strength of [steel].”

“I am especially intrigued with the idea of designing with steel components that require very little or no secondary support systems such as the silo roofs. This means that structures can be constructed very fast, often with unskilled labor, and since the strength of the structure is often formed into the skin of the component, much less material is needed.”

The Homestead House is able to generate its own electricity with photovoltaic cells and a small vertical axis wind turbine. Using solar heating and cooling system, it can function completely off the standard utility grid. Rainwater would be collected off roof arches and directed to storage containers.


Many of Jantzen’s structures specialize in eco-friendly building systems and steel plays into that heavily since it is able to be recycled numerous times as all steel in the United States is made up of a minimum of 25 percent recycled material.

Steel also offers several benefits over other materials from a design perspective.

“Steel components can provide a great deal of flexibility in design since the whole concept is based on a modular system of components that can be assembled in many different ways. This can be very difficult and costly to accomplish with many other materials,” Jantzen continued. “Steel has great untapped potential especially for housing from an aesthetic standpoint if people are willing to accept a very contemporary look.”

While Jantzen has continually received press and attention for his designs, he’s been fairly self-funded which has limited opportunities to expand on ideas. He hopes that with additional funding he can begin actual construction on several projects to show the application of his designs and would love to one day live in one of his homes with his wife Ellen.

For more information or inquire about ways to provide funding for projects, visit MichaelJantzen.com.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

EPA Gets RAD on Steel Appliance Recycling

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and West Virginia have partnered in the Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program, a nation-wide campaign to educate and execute more environmentally conscious end-of-life scenarios for old, inefficient appliances that will enable the recycling of even more steel from end-of-life appliances.

The RAD program began in October of 2006 and Evelyn Swain, an Environmental Specialist, has working with RAD since its inception.

“We’re looking to change the practices within the industry,” says Swain. “We’re looking to make sure every part of the appliance is handled in the best possible way.”

With the help of RAD resources, consumers are increasingly choosing the best method of recycling the old and investing in new EnergyStar™ rated replacements made from recycled and recyclable materials like steel.

Steel continues to be North America’s most recycled material with a steady recycling rate of around 90 percent for appliances. In 2008, RAD contributed to that figure with over half a million appliances being efficiently renewed through RAD programming

The RAD program relies on their partners, such as municipalities, universities, utility companies and major retailers Sears and Best Buy, to accept the old appliances and offer vouchers or rebates on bills or new purchases. Utility companies are looking to get old, inefficient appliances off the grid and retailers want to be your best option for the newest, most environmentally conscious, appliances.

“We ask our partners information down into nitty-gritty of each individual waste stream and what durable components have you recycled,” explained Swain. “We calculate what that means for the environment in terms of greenhouse gas avoidance and ferrous metals recycled.”

RAD officials estimate that over 22,000 tons of ferrous metal were recycled in 2008 through program partners. The process of recycling just one ton of steel conserves 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone. In addition to the natural resources, each ton of steel recycled also conserves about 4697 Kwh/ton of electricity.

“Looking from 2007 to 2008 and 2009, [our recycled units] are significantly increasing every year and we’re excited to stay on this track. Getting states and retailers to join the program who can handle large volume of units is moving us towards our goal which is just to properly dispose as many units as we can.”

The annual greenhouse gas reductions of RAD’s program are estimated to be the same as if 229,000 passenger cars were taken off the road for that same year. The steel industry has also reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 45% since 1975. The reduction of these greenhouse gasses will protect our valuable ozone layer.

Besides energy conservation and reducing greenhouse gases, the physical landfill space required to store poorly handled appliances is an important message as well.

“These appliances are some of the biggest in the household,” says Swain. “One of the major benefits why retailers are joining forces with RAD is green messaging. Consumers are expecting more that products at ‘end of life’ are being recycled properly and not ending up in a landfill.”

With West Virginia now on board, there are several other states, local governments and retailers exploring a partnership with RAD. The more partners and forces working together the more benefits the program will create.

“Our RAD partners can’t accomplish our goals without the support of steel recycling and other end of life industries,” Swain concluded. “It’s really important for the program to have that support and backing.”

For all that they’ve done and the increasing amount they will continue to do, steel recycling supports RAD’s accomplishments.

More information on EPA’s RAD Program: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/partnerships/rad/.

More about the West Virginia Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program: http://www.dep.wv.gov/wveearp.

Nationally, consumers can find where to recycle their appliances through the Steel Recycling Locator at http://www.recycle-steel.org.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Steel Helping Build Oklahoma City American Indian Cultural Center & Museum

American Indians believe in the native world view that everything is related to all other things. The environment is a sustainable life force that can maintain itself over many generations. North America’s #1 recycled material, steel, believes in a similar sustainability and will be used to build Oklahoma City’s American Indian Cultural Center and Museum (AICCM).

While only two American Indian tribes are indigenous to Oklahoma, as many as 39 were forced to move to the area over the nation’s history. Despite their homelands being from all corners of the United States, their cultures are still alive and vibrant today.

Nathan Hart, AICCM’s Director of Community Affairs, emphasized the above Steel's flexibility and strength make the Hall of the People unique design possiblesentiment and has been involved in the planning and construction of the 141,000+ square foot facility since 2002. Since the facility began preparations, the environment has played an essential role.

“Environmental considerations were driven a lot by the individuals involved,” explained Hart. “The native world view that everything is related to all things, the environment, universe, plants, animals, that view gave guidance to the design team to make efficiencies in design.”

The efficiency of steel was an easy selection for the design team.

“It was the best material available with the strength and flexibility we wanted. The ‘Hall of the People’, the whole building itself, is at a curve. You can run straight beams in an area and hide them but in the ‘Hall of the People’ it is a big open structure, high arc tresses and steel was the only way we could accomplish that. We wanted nice high curvature.”

Hart also stated that steel’s ultimate recyclability was a bonus in selecting it and they are very fortunate to have W&W Steel within a mile of the facility for any excess steel from the property to be recycled.

As of now they are estimating around 1636 tons of steel to be used during phase one of their construction process. More will be used as additional areas of the 250 acres are constructed.

When all is completed, estimated in 2014, the area located on the Oklahoma River will be home of the cultural center, museum, athletic fields, shopping plazas and art galleries. Many of the buildings using steel as the primary material.

“The American Indian cultures themselves are very resilient,” said Hart. “And with the construction and materials we use, such as steel, the buildings reflect that resiliency as well.”

A computer rendered image of the finished Cultural Center