The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI) announced that the recycling rate for the world's and America's steel remained at 70.7% in 2004. However, total tons of steel recycled increased by more than 7.2 million tons.

“Over 76 million tons of scrap steel recycled in 2004 was the most scrap recycled in the United States in over 25 years,” said Bill Heenan, president of the Steel Recycling Institute. “But, more importantly, the composition of the tons recycled in 2004 contained almost 35% more obsolete scrap than in 1980,” Heenan noted. “That's because as the steel industry has become a more efficient user of raw materials, it has increased the demand for post-consumer scrap, and the scrap industry continues to deliver end-of-life steel-dominated products back to the steel mills to be reborn into new products. The industry is now one of the largest consumers of recycled materials in the world. Truly, the American steel industry is forging a sustainable path to the benefit of future generations.”

SRI reported that the recycling infrastructure throughout the United States benefited dramatically from the increased demand for “The New Steel” that automotive, appliance, container, and construction customers are demanding in their 21st century products. As a result of this demand, the steel industry continues to require steel scrap, and the scrap industry continues to provide this vital ingredient to making steel.