Steel is an infinitely recyclable product. In any venue it is used, when the use is over, the metal can be completely recycled and used again in another product. For example, a 3,000 square foot steel framed home uses about the amount of steel that can be gleaned from the recycling of six full sized vehicles. The same framing structure from wood would use up the resources of approximately forty trees. Steel is easier to recycle than it is to make from raw materials. For every ton of steel that is recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,000 pounds of coal and 40 pounds of limestone does not have to be permanently removed from the earth. According to Ford Motor Company, seventy-five percent of every vehicle is recyclable; a good portion of that recycled material is in the form of steel.
Steel is one of the very first materials that began to be recycled. Most recycling is a fairly new concept, but steel recycling has been around longer than most of us. Most steel that is manufactured within North America contains a minimum of twenty-eight percent and up to one hundred percent fully recycled material. In recycling steel, mills reduce their impact on air, water and mining, creating seventy percent less waste products. This is because it takes approximately four times as much energy to create steel from the raw materials as it does to make it from recycled scrap. It is currently shown that Americans use approximately one hundred million steel cans each and every day. The U. S. food industry uses approximately twenty-eight billion steel cans each year in order to package more than fifteen hundred different food products. An interesting figure is that the energy conserved in recycling just one pound of steel cans is enough to power a sixty watt light bulb for over a day.