Here’s a shocking statistic: The EPA estimates that 40 percent of solid waste in U.S. is construction debris – totaling to 136 million tons of waste in 2008 alone. Much of this is steel, a heavily used material in commercial and industrial demolition. Colorado to Connecticut, industrial demolition contractors are recycling ferrous scrap more than ever before. (“Ferrous” simply refers to steel that contains a large percentage of iron.) Construction steel is some of the most commonly recycled metal in the world, since recycled steel is just as structurally strong as virgin steel.
And because recycled scrap metal is considerably less expensive than virgin metal, there is plenty of business for ferrous scrap recyclers. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the U.S. ferrous scrap industry was worth $26.4 billion in 2010; more than 54 million metric tons of ferrous metal were recycled in that year alone. To put that into perspective, U.S. businesses recycle enough scrap metal to produce 25 Eiffel Towers every day of the year! The U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of ferrous scrap; we export to more than 90 countries every year. Not only does this boost our economic standing, but it also greatly reduces pollution, as CO2 emissions are reduced by 58 percent when ferrous scrap is used rather than virgin materials.
The majority of industrial demolition contractors recycle their scrap metal, judging from recycling rates. In 2009, for instance, 98 percent of structural steel was recycled.
Once scrap metal has been processed and recycled, it may be used for any number of steel or cast iron products. Yesterday’s bridge support could be tomorrow’s bike frame. What was once rebar could become part of a washer or dryer. Especially because steel can be recycled time and time again, it is the perfect recyclable material from industrial demolition.
Colorado, Oregon and Washington are a few of the western states where Elder Demolition operates – and where we recycle steel. We maintain powerful specialty demolition equipment that can slice through steel structures such as water towers. We also help scrap metal recycling operations by downsizing structural building components. Among industrial demolition contractors, Elder Demolition is one of the largest recyclers of ferrous steel on the West Coast; you can trust us to process your project’s recyclable steel in an environmentally conscious, cost-effective way.
[Photo by: USACE HQ, via CC License]