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Sustainability / Environment

Water Recovery, Reuse, & Recycle - Water resources for multiple purposes

Water is one of the planet's most valuable resources. Schnitzer is investing in new technologies and equipment upgrades that conserve, recover and filter water simultaneously - minimizing compliance risk and reducing unplanned repair costs.

Metal on metal creates friction and friction means heat. At Schnitzer recycling facilities with shredders, the feedstock is instantly pulverized by the shredder, which stays cool with soothing baths of collected rainwater. Our Oakland facility has recently installed a 1.2 million gallon tank to collect stormwater. This stormwater is "harvested" from catch basins and collected in a tank where it can be treated before being re-used as cooling water. As a result, the facility avoids the need to use 6 million gallons annually from the local municipal water supply. Similar shredder cooling systems are in place at our facilities in Portland, OR and Surrey, BC.

Additionally, at many of our facilities, stormwater is recovered by networks of drains and catch basins, pumped into large retention and settling tanks. These systems are used to reduce dust and air emissions during production hours while minimizing our use of local water resources. A combination of passive, active and/or natural filtration is employed at most facilities to remove pollutants from stormwater prior to discharge.

Schnitzer's steel manufacturing production processes may use up to 1 million gallons of water per day, approximately 50% of which evaporates. To conserve local water resources, the remaining 50% is recycled and reused up to six times before it is finally treated to remove pollutants before discharge.

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