The use of stainless steel has been characterized for 51 countries and the world for the years 2000 and 2005. We find that the global stainless steel flow-into-use increased by more than 30% in that 5 year period, as did additions to in-use stocks. This growth was mainly driven by China, which accounted for almost half of the global growth in stainless steel crude production and which tripled its flow into use between 2000 and 2005. The global stainless steel-specific end-of-life recycling rate increased from 66% (2000) to 70% (2005); the landfilling rate was 22% for both years, and 9% (2000) to 12% (2005) was lost into recycled carbon and alloy steels. Within just 5 years, China passed such traditionally strong stainless steel producers and users as Japan, USA, Germany, and South Korea to become the dominant player of the stainless steel industry. However, China did not produce any significant stainless steel end-of-life flows in 2000 or 2005 because its products-in-use are still too new to require replacements. Major Chinese discard flows are expected to begin between 2015 and 2020.
(Reck et al. 2010. Global stainless steel cycle exemplifies China's rise to metal dominance. Environmental Science & Technology 44 (10): 3940-3946)
Source: Center for Industrial Ecology, Yale University
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