Steel. In 2008 it reached a record high of 83.3% according to The Steel Recycling Institute. This is a global record by the way.
So for 2008 (most recent year available) more than 82 million tons of domestic steel scrap was charged into furnaces, both in the United States and abroad.
"All new steel made in the North America contains a minimum of 28% steel scrap with some processes using upwards of 90% steel scrap to make new steel," said Bill Heenan, president of the Steel Recycling Institute..
The industry is quick to point out that steel is recycled at a higher volume than paper, plastic, glass, copper and aluminum combined.
While more than 1.5 million tons of steel containers were recycled in 2008 at a rate of 65.2%, it's the auto sector that is the star with more than 14.8 million tons of steel recycled from automobiles at a rate of 106%. Recycling rates for automobiles are often near or over 100% as older vehicles being recycled are often heavier than new cars which are more fuel efficient through use of advanced high-strength steels, which are now available to automobile manufacturers.
The appliance sector is no slouch with recycling rates remaining stable at 90%.
Structural steel recycles at a rate of 97.5%, while construction reinforcement steel (i.e. rebar) increased slightly to 70%.
For every ton of steel recycled, 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved.
The steel industry is also in the forefront of energy reduction as energy consumption has been reduced by 33% since 1990 along with a 45% reduction in greenhouse gases per ton since 1975.
For other sustainable advancements of the steel industry, cllick here.