Good practice

German firm's 'NoWaste' strategy

German firm's 'NoWaste' strategy
© Александр Ивасенко, #135408512, 2018, source:
Materials, Waste
Metal and plastic processing
Resource savings: Raw material:
100 % of steel produced via the electric arc furnace process comes from steel scrap
Resource savings: Waste:
100 % waste steel reused; 100 % of zinc from filter dust reused; 100 % black electric arc furnace slag sold for road construction
Premises and operation areas:
Production building
Size of company:
Large (more than 250)

Full-scale waste scheme

  • German company reuses steel by-products to reduce waste
  • 100 % of steel scrap is reused
  • Waste that cannot be reused in the factory is sold to other businesses

The German company Georgsmarienhütte GmbH operates in the automotive industry. It produces crankshafts, piston rods, camshafts, drive shafts, gearbox parts and chassis parts. Most of the company's revenue comes from steel production. In addition to automotive products, the steel is also used for chains, machine components, hydraulic components and ingots for open-die forging.

To remain competitive and lower its environmental impact, the company has been implementing what it calls its 'NoWaste' strategy for steel in the production processes.

The company began by conducting a residual material flow analysis at the factory to identify material reuse potential. They focused on the electric steel plant, where most of the production takes place.

Key results

The company decided to set up a detailed sorting and recycling process: each residual material flow is separated from the others and recorded. Efficient monitoring of flows enabled them to better reuse the residual materials at a later stage. Steel scrap is easily reusable, as it only needs to be collected and melted again.

Another important element is the reuse of filter dust and scale. In this case, the recovery methods already in place were assessed as efficient and there was no need for change. The filter dust is reprocessed to recover zinc, and most of the scale is recycled and used as a replacement for iron ore. For the remaining scale, the company is developing a transformation process to further reduce waste.

Another source of waste is the black electric arc furnace slag, which is entirely reused for road construction. Currently in Germany, half of the steel production comes from scrap steel. Thanks to the NoWaste strategy at Georgsmarienhütte GmbH, 100 % of the metal used in the electric arc furnace now comes from steel scrap.

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