Outokumpu Stainless – Refractory Recycling

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Outokumpu Stainless is a recognized leader in the stainless steel industry. Their state-of-the-art mill in Calvert, Alabama, turns raw materials into stainless steel using the most progressive steel-making technologies. The Melt Shop team found a way to recycle refractory, a large volume material used to line the electric arc furnace, ladles and other process equipment. The new process included crushing the leftover material and using it as a substitute for raw material in the electric arc furnace process. In one year, this project eliminated over 1800 tons of waste that would have gone to a local landfill.

Outokumpu also prevented more than 150 truckloads of raw material from being driven to and placed in a local landfill, equivalent to providing power to 350 homes each year. The new refractory recycling process has been so successful that it is now a permanent process in the Melt Shop.

“This project was a collaborative effort within our Melt Shop team. They recognized an opportunity to implement what was initially viewed as a cost savings project. The impact has been much greater than initially expected,” said Wayne Denton, Director of Environmental Health Safety and Security, Outokumpu Stainless USA. “By recycling this material, we are eliminating a waste stream as well the transportation needed for disposal of the material. Additionally, we reduce the amount of raw material needed for our process. This was a small project but one with a big environmental impact.”

Partners for Environmental Progress Annual Meeting, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, at the McQueen Alumni Center in Mobile, Ala. (Mike Kittrell)