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Hyundai Steel bets big on waste recycling in ESG push

Officials from Hyundai Steel, Ministry of Food and the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation pose for a picture during the MOU signing ceremony for replacement of furnace fuels. (Hyundai Steel)
Officials from Hyundai Steel, Ministry of Food and the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation pose for a picture during the MOU signing ceremony for replacement of furnace fuels. (Hyundai Steel)
Hyundai Steel, the nation’s No. 2 steel maker, said Sunday it is betting big on waste recycling in its renewed push for carbon neutrality.

The company has recycled used coffee grounds as part of its social contribution activities. More recently, it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Incheon Yeonsu Rehabilitation Center to accelerate related research.

The North Gyeongsang Province Government Public Institute of Health and Environment, the key beneficiary, will carry out a study on the effectiveness of utilizing used coffee grounds in reducing odor in livestock farms.

Out of 150,000 tons of coffee beans imported annually, Hyundai Steel said, only 0.2 percent actually goes into the coffee we drink, while the remaining 99.8 percent are discarded as waste.

In March this year, the Environment Ministry designated used coffee grounds as a sustainable resource that can be recycled for diverse industrial uses.

Hyundai Steel has also started to replace furnace fuel with cow excrement-based fuel in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation.

It is estimated that the use of one ton of cow excrement-based fuel will have the environmental effect of reducing 1.5 tons of greenhouse gas, while helping to reduce reliance on imported raw materials.

Hyundai Steel has also teamed up with Samsung Electronics on recycling wastewater sludge generated in the process of semiconductor manufacturing.

Fluorite is a common raw material used at ironmaking and steelmaking facilities. It is the mineral form of calcium fluoride, a chemical also found in wastewater sludge from the chip industry.

In April this year, the two firms succeeded in producing steel materials by using fluorite recycled from the wastewater sludge.

Steel makers here used to depend entirely on imports for the material. But with the latest breakthrough, Hyundai Steel now secures 10,000 tons of fluorite, out of the total 20,000 tons needed, on its own, with plans to expand the portion in phases.

By Lee Yoon-Seo (yoonseo.3348@heraldcorp.com)
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