Environment

Toward a sustainable future

First-time visitors to our flat-roll campus often remark that they didn’t expect to find a steel mill in such a pastoral setting. The sky above is clear, the air is fresh, and wildlife teems in the wetlands, woods, and fields on our campus and in the rich surrounding farmland of northeast Indiana.

And it’s all by design—born of our sense of environmental stewardship. SDI believes that as we make the steel America needs to stay strong and secure, we don’t have to incur an ecological debt that will be repaid by future generations.

We’re in the vanguard of the mini-mill revolution, a method of steelmaking that uses primarily scrap steel from a variety of sources—end-of-life automobiles, industrial equipment, infrastructure—to make new prime steel. In fact, the mini-mill segment of the American steel industry is the largest recycler of metallics in the nation, reusing material that once filled junkyards and littered the countryside.

Mini-mill technology has been an environmental triumph, requiring far fewer finite natural resources and significantly less energy to produce steel than the traditional integrated method of steelmaking. And because we use fewer natural resources and less energy to make steel, the ecological footprint we leave is much smaller.

Here, as well, we’re continually investing in new technology that will further minimize the impact we have on health and habitat. A huge new baghouse structure that works as a giant vacuum cleaner not only removes dust in the flat-roll mill, but also keeps dust from escaping into the surrounding atmosphere.

Another recent example our company’s philosophy of environmental stewardship is Mesabi Nugget, our new facility in Minnesota. Mesabi produces iron nuggets that we use as feedstock—along with scrap—in our electric-arc furnaces. The production of iron units using the technology employed by Mesabi creates only 4 percent of the emissions produced during the traditional blast-furnace method of ironmaking.

We also ensure that every load of scrap entering our mill campus is free of any materials that may pose potential health risks because of harmful emissions. We actively support the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program, an effort to remove mercury-containing electrical switches from end-of-life vehicles before they enter the steel-scrap supply.

SDI is also a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, and our customers can earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits by using many of our products.

In everything we do, we remain mindful of protecting our environment, striving to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.