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.