Iron and steel scrap: exports from the U.S. 2006-2019

Exports of iron and steel scrap reached 18 million metric tons in the United States in 2019. This includes used rails for re-rolling and other uses as well as ships, boats, and other vessels for scrapping. The majority of scrap consumption in the domestic industry can be attributed to manufacturers of pig iron, raw steel, and steel castings. The manufacturers use scrap in combination with pig iron and direct-reduced iron to produce steel products for a wide range of applications, including appliances, construction, machinery, and oil and gas. Other uses for iron and steel scrap include producing cast iron and steel products by the ferrous castings industry as well as for the production of ferroalloys, and the precipitation of copper by the chemical industry. In comparison, exports of steel scrap from Mexico totaled only 626,000 metric tons in 2017.

Scrap recycling

Recycled iron and steel are often used as raw materials for the production of new steel and cast iron. As many facilities have been designed to use scrap material, the dependency on the recycling of these products is high. Recycling of this scrap material has ranged between 80 and 90 percent over the last decade, with automobiles as the largest source.

U.S. iron and steel scrap exports from 2006 to 2019

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Release date

February 2020


United States

Survey time period

2006 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The figures for 2006 through 2014 are taken from previous publications.
The 2019 figure is an estimate.

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Statistics on "Scrap materials in the U.S."

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