Why steel scrap?
New steel can be repeatedly produced from steel scrap without any loss of quality. This unique ability makes it one of the most important raw materials for steel production.
Approximately half of the steel produced today is recycled from steel scrap. It is particularly important in electric steel production, where steel is almost exclusivelyproduced by melting scrap.
The steel industry, and the steel recycling business, makes an important contribution towards reducing the use of raw materials and energy by recycling steel scrap – and thus protect the environment. This advantage has also led to this steel production process becoming more widespread worldwide and thus the demand for steel scrap is also rising steadily.
Where does itcome from?
There are three sources of scrap:
• There is the industry’s “own discards”. This so-called circulatory scrap occurs during steel production at steel works, as well as during casting at foundries. However, in recent years there has been a general trend towards reducing the amount of this type of scrap. This is, in particular, the result of continuous efforts by steel works to improveyields.
• A further source of steel scrap is left-over material from the steel-processing industries (e.g. mechanical engineering, vehicle construction, steel and container construction, etc.). This is “new scrap”. No growth in the creation of this type of steel scrap is expected soon. This development is influenced by production-oriented dimensioning of the products used and the improvedefficiency of material utilisation during processing.
• The majority of scrap is in the form of “old scrap” that is obtained from products that can no longer be used, such as old cars, machines, household devices, and many others. The availability of this type of scrap could rise as a result of a tendency towards shorter consumer-good lifetimes, and the increasing requirement for recycling because oftighter environmental regulations. In Europe, definitions of the various types of scrap are specified in a harmonised European steel scrap specification.
Old and new scrap are traded worldwide. The former nations of the Soviet Union are an important source of supply for western steel companies, particularly for alloyed scrap. In the past, deliveries from these countries contributed to aconsiderable easing on the western European markets. The flow of material from these sources, however, has been permanently impaired in recent years as a result of numerous administrative trade barriers. Therefore, efforts to find a solution to these trade restrictions are, among other measures, in the foreground of the Stahl-Zentrum’s activities in the area of steel scrap.
Where does it go?
With therecovery of global steel production in 2010, demand for steel scrap in the United States and around the world has begun to rise again. Plans for new electric arc furnaces using scrap as their primary input in major steel producing countries, including China, Russia and Turkey, are likely to put still more pressure on global scrap supplies. Steel recycling rates in the developed countries, especiallythe United States, are already very high, so that higher demand is likely to lead to higher prices, unless other countries can raise their recycling rates as well. The imposition of restraints on exports of steel scrap by many countries, including Russia, Ukraine and China, further complicates the scrap supply picture.
How big are Supply and Trade?
The most recent information available, for2008 (World Steel Assciation), estimates:
• World scrap supply: 445 million MTs
• World scrap consumption: 475.5 million MTs
Scrap is widely traded Internationally. Scrap supply and consumption differ greatly by region:
• The European Union is the world’s single largest generator of steel scrap. While the EU exports a great deal of scrap, it also imports substantial quantities....