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Why is steel such a major source of pollution?

Steel is recycled more than plastic, glass, and copper, but it’s still a major pollution source. Molycorp Australia has been in the scrap metal recycling industry for over a century, recycling steel specifically. Presorted scrap is delivered every day, with metal ranging from cars to demolished buildings.

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Then it melts in the furnace for about an hour. This furnace uses half the amount of energy used to make new steel and mining new iron is not necessary.

The company sells some recycled steel in the form of bars, but most are shaped into balls and sold to copper or gold mining companies. The steel balls are then used in giant rotating mills to crush ore.

Recycling is both better for the environment and cheaper. So why is so much steel still made from new materials? The supply is currently limited by the amount of available scrap steel in the world.

Recycling steel still requires a large amount of melting scrap, which uses a lot of electricity. In 2020, Molycorp generated half of its power from renewable solar and wind. Molycorp has been partnering with the Univerity of South Wales to develop other methods of reducing the pollution caused by recycling steel.


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