Sustainability Principles

Steel Manufacturing

Where old
becomes new

The final stage in Schnitzer’s internal recycling process is the manufacturing of new steel products, which takes place at Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, Inc. in McMinnville, Oregon.

Learn more about renewable
energy use at our steel mill

Recycling 1 ton of steel conserves:

1,400

pounds of coal

120

pounds of
limestone

2,500

pounds of iron ore

Certain processes involved in steelmaking have been used for generations. Today, 21st-century advancements in technology make this process safer, more streamlined, and more energy efficient than ever before.

Our state-of-the-art electric arc furnace (EAF) and ladle refining furnace technologies use carbon-free electric power to melt scrap, operating with lower emissions than conventional basic oxygen furnaces. What’s more, they are designed to remanufacture steel from scrap metal rather than virgin ore, which contributes to substantial savings of energy, air emissions, and natural resources.

We are continually refining the technologies that support our EAF, including supersonic burners, off-gas recovery systems, and software systems that allow us to manage heat more effectively and efficiently. Cascade Steel also finds sustainable uses for the by-products of our steelmaking process, such as EAF dust and slag, which may be sold for reprocessing and other industrial applications.

When our steel products, including straight and coiled reinforcing bar, are shaped, cooled, and ready for sale, they are transported and used in responsible ways. Our mill has direct access to rail service and deep draft terminals in Portland, Oregon, that provide lower-emission modes of transport than road vehicles. Because our steel products are made from recycled materials that are often sourced within less than 50 miles of our facility, they can be used in construction projects seeking to earn environmental certifications, such as LEED. In these cases, it’s not only the inputs of our steel manufacturing process that are sustainable — the outputs are, too.