Impact of the Secondary Steel Circular Economy Model on Resource Use and the Environmental Impact of Steel Production in Chile

C. López, C. Pea, E. Muoz

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The circular economy is a closed loop minimizing materials, energy and environmental deterioration without restricting economic growth or social and technical progress. Steel is considered an emblematic case of the circular economy given its high capacity for recycling and reutilization, in addition to its reparability, extending its useful life. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of secondary steel production on resource extraction and the environmental impact on steel production in Chile, as a circular economy model. The assessment was carried out through Material Flow Analysis (MFA) and Life Cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies. The MFA considered national steel supply for 2015 from the EW-MFA framework, while the LCA was done using primary data from the secondary steel industry in Chile for the same period. Primary steel flows in Chile enter the system through imports (62%), followed by domestic production of steel rods and profiles (27%). Residual steel flow for 2015 was established at 1 Mt, which would allow secondary steel production to grow up to 78%. This would allow for domestic extraction used (DEU) to be reduced and for efficiency in the production of steel rods and profiles to be improved. In parallel, issues such as abiotic depletion, eutrophication, acidification and climate change demonstrate decreases of 59%, 50%, 46% y 45% respectively. Based on these results, it can be concluded that increased secondary steel production in Chile generates environmental benefits, raises efficiency and reduces domestic resource demand, significantly improving environmental performance in the industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012024
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2020
EventSustainable Built Environment Temuco 2019, SBE 2019 Temuco - Temuco, Chile
Duration: 16 Oct 201918 Oct 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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