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Schnitzer, Covanta Harvest Fishing Nets for Steel, Energy

Metals recycling company Schnitzer Steel is working with fishermen to recycle unusable heavy equipment such as nets, according to one of the company’s investors.

Jackson Robinson of Brown Advisory Incorporated tells the Wall Street Transcript that fishing nets’ steel components that historically been either landfilled or abandoned on the ocean floor. But Schnitzer is working with waste-to-energy company Covanta to extract this metal and recycle it into new products. Covanta is using much of the non-steel components, such as mesh, to create electricity.

Schnitzer Steel’s metals recycling business collects ferrous and nonferrous scrap metals from a range of suppliers and industries, including manufacturers and auto parts recyclers, and from demolition of steel-constructed buildings and bridges. Operating as Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, its steel manufacturing division transforms recycled scrap metal into products such as rebar, wire rod, coiled bar and merchant bar.

Schnitzer says its mini-mill is the only one in the Western U.S. that can obtain all its recycled metal from its own affiliated metal recycling operations. In fiscal 2011, the company sold 439,000 tons of finished products.

Last year the steel industry re-used 94.4 percent of its byproducts, down from 97.7 in 2010, according to Worldsteel’s 2012 Sustainability Indicators. At 1.8 tons of CO2 produced per ton of crude steel cast, the global steel industry’s greenhouse gas emissions haven’t changed since 2007.

Last April Covanta placed 11th for the innovation of clean-tech solutions and products, mitigation of climate change-related risks and management of carbon emissions, in ratings by risk analysis company Maplecroft.

Also in April, Covanta completed commercial demonstration testing on what it says is a first-of-its-kind gasification technology to gasify unprocessed post-recycled municipal solid waste in a commercial setting. In testing CleerGas, which stands for Covanta Low Emissions Energy Recovery Gasification, the company said it processed 350 tons of post-recycled municipal solid waste per day.

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