Crane system loads scrap metal into wagon

Scrap is here to stay

Not all scrap is created equal. With our DBscrap-solution programme, we are keeping the steel-recycling chain intact so material will continue flowing to German steel producers. More than 4 million metric tonnes of scrap are returned to blast furnaces this way each year so new products can be made.

 Railways bolster steel recycling

Derichebourg Umwelt and DB Cargo join forces for a more sustainable raw materials life cycle.

Steel can be recycled over and over without any loss. The steel industry in Germany alone uses over 20 million tonnes of steel and iron scrap every year to manufacture new products. This is where the approach developed by scrap dealer Derichebourg Umwelt GmbH and implemented together with DB Cargo comes in. The objective is to strengthen the link between sustainable steel recycling and sustainable rail transport.

To put this approach into effect, Derichebourg Umwelt, a recycling specialist, entered into close cooperation with the freight operating company. Derichebourg serves as a link between suppliers and customers, receiving various types of scrap from all over Europe and supplying steel plants with raw products sorted by type. It takes in the scrap at its sites in Nuremberg, Neumarkt, Karlsruhe, Reuth and Zwickau, and processes it with state-ofthe-art equipment and high-performance machines like presses, shears and shredders.

Part of the economic cycle

The high-performance recycling facilities boast state-of-the-art technology and are able to extract high-value secondary raw materials from the products that are collected, making scrap into a new raw material for industrial customers to use in their production. “Steel recycling is an indispensable process in recycling management for Derichebourg”, explains Andreas Fritsch, Managing Director of Derichebourg Umwelt. “By putting secondary raw materials back into the manufacturing life cycle, we are protecting existing resources, which delivers a strong contribution to environmental protection.”

For every tonne of steel and iron scrap that is used, 1.5 fewer tonnes of iron ore need to be extracted. Metallurgical slag can be used instead of limestone, gravel and other natural materials. Recycling steel not only conserves energy and resources; it also reduces emissions such as the greenhouse gas CO2. When one tonne of steel scrap is utilised, CO2 emissions fall by one tonne, as well. Thanks to steel recycling in Germany, more than 20 million fewer tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere every year. That’s the same amount produced by Germany’s capital, Berlin, in one year.

The commitment to green transportation also fits into this framework. Derichebourg Umwelt wants to rely even more heavily on rail in Germany, and by extension, on DB Cargo. The freight operating company already transports 170,000 tonnes of Derichebourg Umwelt’s scrap all over Germany and Europe every year. That figure accounts for more than half of the recycling specialist’s total volume. Farther on down the line, this share is projected to climb even higher. “We want to grow together”, explains Wolfgang Rebhan, Account Manager Regional Sales in Nuremberg at DB Cargo. The focus is currently on the rapidly growing site of Reuth im Vogtland, where trains currently depart three times a week. In 2017, the volume of scrap at the site saw disproportionate growth. “We intend to keep investing here”, says Fritsch.

Sustainable investment

Wagon provision is a challenge for DB Cargo. After all, the freight operating company transports some 8.5 million tonnes of iron and steel scrap every year, a third of which has to cross borders. “Sometimes the long turnaround times make it hard for us to provide the right Ea wagons where they are needed quickly enough”, admits Rebhan. He says they are putting their heads together to produce a solution. For instance, DB Cargo will ramp up its investments in new locomotives and freight wagons in the coming years. “We want to put more cargo on rail and we want to collaborate with DB Cargo”, says Fritsch. It’s now about reliably providing the right assets, he says.