Johnson Controls announced the launch of a program for recycling steel, through a collaboration with Nucor Corporation, the largest steel producer and recycler in North America.
Over 70% of Johnson Controls steel purchases in the U.S. and 45% globally are manufactured from recycled scrap materials. The program with Nucor will recycle nearly 100% of that secondary scrap steel again, amounting to thousands of tons each year, at major Johnson Controls manufacturing sites in the US. Nucor will remelt the scrap steel using electric arc furnace (EAF) technology, which generates approximately 75% less emissions than traditional blast furnace manufacturing. The remelted steel will be sold back to Johnson Controls for use in manufacturing. This closed-loop recycling process is a highly efficient form of circularity that is especially well suited to metals like steel, which retain their robust material structures through multiple rounds of recycling and repurposing.
Johnson Controls is engaged globally to use our purchasing power to accelerate the adoption of near net zero steel, including being a founding member of the First Movers Coalition, an organization initiated by the US State Department and the World Economic Forum.
"With our smart building technology trifecta – energy-efficient equipment, clean electrification, and systemic digitalization – we have already reached the point of being able to help customers reduce building operational emissions to net zero," says Katie McGinty, Vice President and Chief Sustainability and External Affairs Officer at Johnson Controls. "However, embodied carbon emissions in hard-to-abate sectors like steel are much more challenging. We are unravelling the complexities of embodied carbon, by addressing the challenge from different angles: from low-carbon steel purchases to steel recycling, material recycling, and overall product footprint reduction. This partnership with Nucor will allow us to accelerate upstream decarbonization significantly through the further recycling of thousands of tons of steel every year. We are excited not only about the immediate resource and emissions reductions, but also about the long-term ripple effect this closed-loop recycling partnership will have for resource, energy and emissions savings."
"We are excited to work more closely with Johnson Controls and build on our longstanding relationship by developing this recycling program," said Noah Hanners, Executive Vice President of Raw Materials for Nucor Corporation. "Nucor pioneered the use of EAF technology in the late 1960s, and we are now one of the cleanest, most sustainable steel producers in the world. We formed Nucor Industrial Recycling to work with our steel customers to find new and better ways to return steel scrap directly from manufacturing facilities to our steel mills for re-melting to make new steel products. This closed-loop recycling program is a great example of how we work with our customers to improve resource efficiency in the steel supply chain."