Steel, as North America’s #1 most recycled material, is applauding the U.S. Senate for passing Resolution 251 which expresses support for recycling, it’s positive impact on the US economy and reinforces the importance it plays in reducing green house gas emissions. The resolution was introduced by Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Co-Chairs of the Senate Recycling Caucus.
Messages of support for this resolution have come from organizations such as the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), AmericanIron and Steel Institute (AISI), and the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), which shows steel plans to continue being a majority contributor to improving recycling numbers across the nation
“The steel industry has a vital role in recycling, with steel literally being the most recycled material in the U.S., as well as globally,” explained Thomas Gibson, President & CEO, AISI. “The extensive system of scrap processors and consuming steel mills throughout our nation provide a highly responsible end of life disposition for the steel in automobiles, containers, and construction materials. As old steel products become new steel products through recycling, the needs of people are fulfilled and we reduce impact on the planet.”
“The SRI sees the resolution as a welcome reminder that recycling is a win-win for individual citizens who participate and should do more,” remarked Greg Crawford, SRI Executive Director. “It is also important to material manufacturers and product producers who need more recycled feedstock to help reduce waste while saving energy and conserving natural resources.”
The country recycles steel at a rate of over 83% with specific products such as appliances (90%) and automotives (over 100%) even higher. Opportunities continue to grow by expanding product acceptance in curbside and drop-off programs, such as empty steel aerosol cans and empty steel paint cans. Many untrue myths or concerns continue to exist in the market about aerosol and paint cans that unnecessarily separates this potential valuable scrap from the stream. Recycling coordinators continue to find themselves at the demand of an increasingly informed public to include these locally.
“While this resolution is non-binding, we see it as just another in a growing list of very important indicators pointing out the rising – some might say, resurgent role – recycling has as a transformative US industry sector,” commented NRC President Mark Lichtenstein. “We do not equivocate when we say that we view recycling as absolutely essential in helping to build our new economy. This resolution supports that premise.”
The importance of a large influx of steel is important to the continuous life cycle of the industry, and therefore the economy. Old steel scrap is used to create new steel products which save energy and raw materials. In fact, for every one ton of steel recycled 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved. While many products claim to be recyclable, steel backs it up by being one of the few that is truly recycled.
The importance of recycling and this resolution may be as simple as acknowledging that both Senate Democrats and Republicans, together, unanimously passed this resolution. Gibson concluded, “This is clearly a significant part of our national endeavor that everyone can agree upon.”