Conversation with Adam Parr

Director of Communications & Public Affairs  |  Gerdau

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What role does Gerdau serve in pushing recycling trends?

Gerdau’s business is built around recycling and sustainability. Each year, we transform millions of tons of scrap into a variety of new steel products, promoting sustainable development around the world. All of Gerdau’s North American steel mills use scrap-based electric arc furnace (EAF) technology, reducing the demand for natural resources and minimizing the release of greenhouse gases, in addition to reducing the amount of material discarded in landfills.

Why is it important for manufacturers to take a green initiative in 2023?

In addition to being the right thing to do for the communities where we work and live, numerous stakeholders — including employees, customers, investors, and governments — are calling on manufacturers to improve their environmental performance. While our current greenhouse gas emissions are a fraction of the global average for the steel industry, Gerdau has established public goals to reduce our emissions in the near term, with an ambition to make our operations carbon neutral by 2050.

How does that translate into the renewables sector, particularly wind energy?

The renewable energy sector is an important growth market for the steel industry. Steel production is also an energy-intensive process. The presence of more renewable energy sources on the grid makes steel products even cleaner. Today, the U.S. steel industry is the least carbon-intensive of all major steel-producing countries, and its footprint will continue to improve as more renewable energy sources come online.

What types of materials are typically recycled within the wind industry and how are they used?

Gerdau’s Metals Recycling business operates 21 scrap yards, purchasing, processing, and selling all grades of scrap metal, which is used both by our mills and by other businesses. We recycle discarded cars and appliances, aluminum, copper, stainless steel, brass, batteries, and many other metal-containing goods.

Are recycled materials being used for repowering older wind turbines? In what way?

Approximately 70 percent of the steel made in the United States is made by EAF steel producers, using recycled ferrous scrap as the primary input. Utilizing this clean, infinitely recyclable material will promote sustainability and reuse.

What advantages can wind energy take from how other industries deal with recycling their materials?

As a developed economy, the U.S. enjoys established recycling networks and an extensive supply of scrap metal. This allows wind-energy developers to purchase from some of the cleanest steel producers in the world, improving their own footprint while building new renewable energy capacity.

With green initiatives always an obvious objective for wind energy, how do you see the wind industry implementing recycling protocols to further that goal?

Across steel-consuming industries, we increasingly see customers making environmental performance a key component of procurement decisions. This incentivizes and rewards producers who are doing the right thing and supports further reductions in carbon emissions.

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