Our Business

The modern world was built with steel and other metals. Consider the buildings and infrastructure that make our way of life possible: bridges, highways, railroads, factories, skyscrapers, and more. All depend on strong, resilient steel, an iron alloy forged with carbon to increase its strength. Known for its toughness, durability, and corrosion resistance, steel is one of the world’s most valuable and versatile manufactured materials.

But while steel helped build the structures of yesterday, the risks of climate change today require that we rethink vital industries like energy, transportation, and building construction. Transition to the low-carbon economy of the future—one in which we rely less on fossil fuels and products made from virgin materials and more on renewable sources of energy, electric vehicles, and “smart cities” built with recycled materials—is widely acknowledged to be more metal-intensive than in the past.

Through our resourcefulness and resilience, Schnitzer is fulfilling its responsibility to rise to the challenges faced by our transitioning world. Schnitzer’s steel mill operates an electric arc furnace (EAF), which uses scrap steel as its primary raw material. Recycling scrap steel offers many environmental benefits compared with the use of virgin iron ore in steel manufacturing. Besides being more energy-, emissions-, and water-efficient, recycling scrap plays a fundamental role in keeping metal out of landfills—allowing yesterday’s scrap metal to become tomorrow’s infrastructure. Almost all the scrap steel used at our steel mill is obtained from one of our metal recycling facilities.

Also, as more EAFs begin operating around the world, demand for recycled metals will increase as well. Schnitzer’s business can help meet that demand, making the future even more sustainable.

We are further strengthening our business model— and our sustainable impact—by investing in technologies and processes to increase our recovery of non-ferrous metals that typically are contained in vehicles and heavy appliances. Non-ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, nickel, brass, titanium, stainless steel, and high-temperature alloys, as well as rare earth metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These metals are critical resources for a low-carbon future, supporting the manufacturing of electric vehicles, consumer electronics and appliances, and other more sustainable technologies. We are also expanding our recycling services and offering new recycling solutions to help customers meet their sustainability goals and maximize value from excess materials, including packaging and obsolete goods.

Helping BART Refresh Its Fleet

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system is decommissioning some of its oldest train cars, which have been in use since 1973. The retired cars went to Schnitzer’s Oakland metals facility, where each was dismantled into approximately six tons of aluminum, one ton of copper, and 15 tons of steel. These materials will support future infrastructure and transportation projects—while allowing BART to transition to a new, more sustainable fleet.

As one of North America’s largest recyclers of scrap metal, dismantlers of end-of-life vehicles, sellers of recycled auto parts, and manufacturers of finished steel products from recycled scrap, our role is to separate valuable materials into their component parts so that they can be reused or remade into new products.

Our strategically located facilities on the east and west coasts of North America, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico enable efficient sourcing and delivery of recycled metals to mills and foundries around the world for use in new metal product manufacturing.

While we play a vital part in the global economy, we are also proud of being a good neighbor in the communities in which we operate. With operations in 23 states and over 100 communities across the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) and Western Canada, Schnitzer also plays a prominent role as job creator, economic leader, and environmental steward.