[Asian Steel Watch] Vol.5 (2018.6)
On the Cover Steel in a Circular Economy: Change, Impact, and Prospects
Today a linear “take, make, and dispose” economic model is regarded as reaching its limits. As a sustainable growth model to overcome such limits, a circular economy is increasingly being discussed at the global level. The shift to a circular economy may bring tremendous changes to supply and demand of the steel industry and ultimately its future competitiveness. On the demand side, the falling steel unit requirement of steel-consuming industries, expanding service life of steel products, and falling demand for new steel products will fuel a decline in steel demand. On the production side, however, it provides a chance to take advantage of certain hidden strengths of steel—high-quality, high-quantity recycling. To this end, some challenges should be addressed: improving the purity of scrap and maximizing recyclability; the ease of reuse and remanufacture taken into account from the design stage; and building a cooperative linkage system with steel-consuming industries. To deal with opportunities and threats, the steel industry should ensure circularity of steel to maintain its competitive edge and prove that steel is a competitive material for the circular economy era.