Dworak, S., & Fellner, J. (2021). Steel scrap generation in the EU-28 since 1946 – Sources and composition. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 173, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105692
Resources, Conservation and Recycling
A detailed understanding of scrap generation and utilization is needed to target increased material efficiencies and circular economy in the steel industry. In the present paper, the generation and composition of steel scrap (production & forming scrap, fabrication scrap and post-consumer scrap and their composition) in the former territory of the EU-28 have been assessed from 1946 to 2017 by means of Material Flow Analysis. The results reveal that the steel scrap composition in the EU-28 has changed significantly since 1946. Until 1980 scrap generation was dominated by new scrap (mostly production & forming scrap). Today, most of the overall steel scrap is post-consumer scrap. Most of the new scrap consists of fabrication scrap. Taking the presence and tolerance levels of major tramp elements in steel (Cu, Sn, Cr, Ni and Mo) into consideration, a material pinch analysis reveals a surplus of steel scrap with higher levels of tramp elements since the 1990ies. This scrap could only be utilized in the European steel industry by dilution with primary iron sources. At present, this surplus scrap seems to be largely exported as its quantity corresponds well to the net-exports of steel scrap from the EU-28. Transplanting the observed trends of steel scrap generation to emerging economies implies a significant increase in fabrication and post-consumer scrap in these countries in the near future. However, the utilization of scrap at higher rates, particularly post-consumer scrap, will challenge the local steel industry as tramp elements significantly increase along the production, use and end-of-life chain.
fabrication scrap; material flow analysis; post-consumer scrap; production & forming scrap; scrap quality; steel