Climate Action Through Emissions Reduction
Our Contributions to a Net Zero Future
Schnitzer’s short- and long-term emissions reduction goals serve as guideposts for Company-wide climate action. Our strategies include investments in best-available control technology emission control systems, an emphasis on increasing energy efficiency, implementation of alternative fuel use and resource conservation projects, maintaining net zero carbon electricity through local, regional, and national partnerships, and the ability to track and manage emissions throughout our supply chain. The successful deployment of our strategies supports a net zero future—a reality that will also require global technological advancements and innovations.
In fiscal 2022 Schnitzer’s facilities processed
approximately 800,000 cars — more than
1.3 million metric tons of metal.
Through our programs, partnerships, and investments, we support growth and accessibility of renewable energy supply and infrastructure in the communities in which we operate, reduce the local impact of our own operations, and offer low-carbon products and services to our customers and suppliers.
Emissions Control Systems at our Oakland Shredding Operation
Schnitzer’s metal shredders are a driving force behind our recycling facilities. High-powered disks with hammers made of heavy-duty manganese rotate at extremely high speeds to deconstruct large metal items like cars, trucks, refrigerators, and washing machines. In under a minute, a car is shredded into an assortment of materials including metals which are separated into ferrous and nonferrous groupings.
To achieve this transformation, our shredding operations use energy which generates both direct and fugitive emissions that must be properly managed. Schnitzer has led research related to air emissions generated by shredding activities over the past decade, and we have prioritized actions that seek to accurately quantify and responsibly manage the air quality effects of our shredding operations.
This effort has included investments of more than $72 million since 2016 that advance our emissions reduction goals.
Our strategy considers a variety of factors when evaluating conditions at each shredding operation. Solutions are tailored to meet the specific needs of the site, including extensive source testing, engineering, and the commissioning of state-of-the-art emission capture and control systems.
At Schnitzer’s Oakland, California facility, we completed construction of an upgrade to a previously installed emissions control system in fiscal 2022. The upgraded emission control system includes a physical enclosure around our metal shredder, which is engineered to capture over 95% of emissions generated by shredder operation, two regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTOs), which use combustion to treat volatile organic compound emissions, and two acid gas scrubbers to neutralize acidic gases formed in the RTOs. The combined effects of these technologies significantly reduce airbone effects of metal shredding operations on the surrounding environment and reduce Scope 1 GHG emissions by an estimated 3,500 mtCO2e annually.
Beyond the capital investments needed to achieve this emissions reduction, operating and maintaining the system requires specially trained technicians. Our focus on continuous improvement will further our emissions reduction strategies as we achieve our goal of 25% emissions reduction from our recycling operations by fiscal 2025, and set new goals for ourselves.
Fiscal 2022 achievements and our fiscal 2023 goals on emissions control projects
Commissioned and operational at the end of fiscal 2021.
Eliminated more than 4,000 mtCO2e annually since installation.
Following an extended outage, shredder is currently operating with an effective temporary emissions capture system. The permanent enclosure is expected to be restored prior to the end of fiscal 2023.
Commissioned and operational since Q3 of fiscal 2022.
Eliminated 1,500 mtCO2e since installation.
System in design and permitting.
Estimated to eliminate more than 1,500 mtCO2e annually.
System in design and permitting.
Estimated to eliminate more than 3,000 mtCO2e annually.
Enclosure and particulate matter emissions control system in design.