Waste and Recycling Management

      Steel is considered a permanent material thanks to its longevity, ease of repairability, and the possibility of converting it as scrap any number of times into new steel products. As such, steel can already make an important contribution to the circular economy the EU aims to achieve by 2050.

      Decoupling the economy from the consumption of resources requires extending the useful life of products and repurposing them in different ways at the end of their service life. voestalpine is responding to this challenge. As a result, own and third-party scrap are a key raw material for the Group: in connection with conventional technology, where scrap is used especially in the Linz and Donawitz steel plants, as well as in connection with the envisioned shift to electric furnaces at these two facilities (also see the “Climate Action” chapter).

      Scrap is also used to manufacture special steel grades in the electric furnaces of the High Performance Metals Division.

      In calendar year 2021, the recycling rate relative to product output was 27.3% (2020: 26.5%). This metric concerns the product’s iron content that is derived from secondary raw materials such as scrap iron.

      Recycling rate

      In percent

      Recycling rate (barchart)

      voestalpine implements numerous measures to promote internal circularity as well as the external utilization of residual products and waste from both the production plants and downstream facilities. For one, process management in the integrated steel mills is subject to continual improvement. For another, internally and externally generated products, residual products, and waste such as scrap or used plastic are re(used) in the manufacturing facilities.

      By-products such as steel mill dust or slag are utilized in the zinc industry or in the production of cement.

      In calendar year 2021, the specific volume of hazardous waste was 24 kg per ton of product (2020: 28 kg/t), and that of non-hazardous waste was 138 kg per ton of product (2020: 173 kg/t). The absolute quantity of waste has grown in tandem with the general increase in production capacity.

      Waste volume


      Waste volume (barchart)

      Specific waste volume

      kg/t product

      Specific waste volume (barchart)