Metal buildings are predominantly made of steel, which is the most recycled material on Earth. Structural steel retains an extremely high overall recycle rate which, in 2014, stood at 98%. This is because steel scrap is an essential and valuable raw material in making new steel. More than a billion tons of steel have been recycled by the North American steel industry since 1988, according to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI).
Since the early 1990s, the steel industry has reduced its energy use by approximately one third. More than 95% of the water used in the steel making process is recycled and returned - often cleaner than when it was taken from its source. Every piece of steel used in construction contains some recycled content, and all steel can be recovered and recycled again and again into new, high quality steel products.
Sustainability, durability, fire resistance, structural performance and cost-effectiveness are some of the strongest reasons for using metal building systems in low-rise building construction. As a dependable, noncombustible material, steel-framed structures provide a wise investment for builders and the occupants who live and work in them.
According to certain "studies", wood claims to have a smaller environmental footprint than any other major building material. However, a closer look at the facts reveals some significant inconsistencies with that claim.
Read the Declaration by the Metals Industry on Recycling Principles and the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling from World Steel Association.
For more information on steel recycling accomplishments, visit the Steel Recycling Institute website at http://www.recycle-steel.org.