Recycling Ferrous Metals
Due to their increased demand and usage, some of the most recycled items include vehicles, different types of electronic appliances, containers, metal cans and even materials that are extensively used in building and construction.
The percentage composition of iron varies in every type of item with the highest being 75 percent commonly seen in devices and machinery. Whereas vehicles contain about 65 percent iron and steel. In 2008, a large number of structural steel and vehicles were recycled about 97% and 106% respectively.
Advantages of Recycling Steel
Apart from the fact that it is environmentally friendly, it is also economically feasible to recycle ferrous metals and this practice has been going on for more than 150 years. Mining and digging the mineral ore to obtain reserves requires much more investment, labor and time which is why it is rather beneficial to recycle the old steel than to mine iron ore and repeat the whole production process.
- It is reported that about 75 percent of energy is conserved by recycling annually and that energy is enough to generate electricity for eighteen million homes per year.
- By recycling 1,000 kgs of steel, you are able to conserve 1.1 metric tons of iron ore, 630 kgs of coal, and 55 kgs of limestone.
Moreover, during recycling, steel retains all of its physical characteristics- conserving a lot of energy and mineral deposits. The International Resource Panel’s Metal Stocks in Society report says that the per capita reserve of steel in use in Australia, Canada, the European Union EU15, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, and the USA is about 7085 kilograms.
Using Recycled Steel to make BOS and EAF Steel
About 25 to 35 percent of the recycled steel is incorporated in making new steel in the basic oxygen steelmaking method while 100 percent recycled steel is used to make EAF steel. Steel produced by BOS usually contains some impurities in the form of other elements in minute quantities. These impurities make the steel more ductile and flexible as compared to the electric arc furnace (EAF) steel
- These elements include copper, nickel, and molybdenum.
- This malleable steel is used to make tins, containers, and even industrial drums.
The EAF steels also contain impurities but in greater amounts and cannot be removed via oxygen and lime application. This steel is used to make construction materials like plates, beams, and reinforcing bars.