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The North American steel industry has invested billions of dollars in new technologies over the past two decades. Expenditures directed towards these investments have had notable results, including reductions in energy consumption, reduced carbon dioxide emissions, a reduced life cycle impact and increased volumes of steel scrap being recycled. These achievements are making steel our most sustainable material.
The North American steel industry’s commitment to sustainability has transformed steel into the world’s most recycled material, with more than 82 million tons recycled last year in the US alone. Since 1990, increased recycling, driven by widespread use of electric furnaces for flat rolled products, along with other advances in steelmaking processes have reduced energy intensity per ton of steel shipped by 30 percent and CO2 intensity by 35 percent.
Steel has lower energy use and CO2 emissions per ton than aluminum, cement and magnesium among others.
Reductions in energy use and CO2 emissions are rapidly reaching the limits defined by the laws of physics. To achieve continued gains in energy and carbon efficiency, the North American steel industry remains committed to pioneering new steelmaking processes that leverage greener fuels and carbon capture technologies.
In addition to continually lessening its light environmental footprint, our industry is committed to documenting the Life Cycle Impact and sustainable advantages of steel so that material decision makers, policy leaders and ultimately consumers can make informed product decisions.
© 2015 American Iron and Steel Institute