Steel is considered a permanent material. It has a long useful life, is easy to repair, and may be recycled into new steel products any number of times without any loss in quality. These properties and steel’s contribution to weight reductions—e.g., in mobility (lightweight automotive construction)—make steel indispensable to a sustainable society.
What matters besides conserving resources in both production and processing is the work to continually improve products’ useful life as well as their reusability and recoverability. Accordingly, own and third-party scrap are an important source of raw material for voestalpine. Scrap is utilized in the electric furnaces of the High Performance Metals Division to the same extent as in the crude steel production plants in Linz and Donawitz that adhere to the steel plant route and thus work with conventional blast furnaces. In 2019, the recycling rate of iron relative to the product output was 28.7%.
Process management in the integrated steel mills is optimized on an ongoing basis to ensure internal circularity as well as external utilization of residual products and waste from both the production plants and downstream facilities. Products, residual materials, and waste that accumulate internally and externally are also (re)used in voestalpine’s production plants; besides scrap this includes processed plastic waste, waste oil, and used grease. For example, steel mill dust is utilized in the zinc industry, and slag in the cement industry.
The specific volume of hazardous waste in the calendar year 2019 was 21.4 kg, and that of non-hazardous waste 151.8 kg. Year over year, the disposal volume of non-hazardous waste rose in 2019 by 15%. This increase is related to the Linz plant where a greater volume of steel mill slag was sent to external repurposing in 2019.
Specific waste volume