Global Life Cycle of Stainless Steel

Published 26 June 2023

Team Stainless has issued a summary of the detailed analysis of stainless steel stocks and flows by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The analysis concluded that in 2019 on average 95% of stainless steels are recycled once they reach their end of life, with 70% used to make new stainless steels and 25% used to make new carbon or special steels.

The study also considered the recycled content of stainless steels (the amount of scrap used in the production of new stainless steels) for 2019. Globally the average recycled content of stainless steel was 48% (37% stainless steel scrap and 11% carbon steel scrap). However, there were significant regional differences. For example, in the USA and Europe the recycled content 83% and 85% respectively. In China, on average stainless steels only had 31% recycled content. It is likely that this reflects the fact that the availability of scrap stainless steel in China is lower because most in-use stainless steels have not yet reached their end of life. The study also analysed end use specific end of life flows.

The summary is available in English and Chinese.

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