What Is Meant By The Sustainability Of Steel?

There’s no doubt you’ve heard about the ‘sustainability factor’ of steel but what exactly is that and what does it mean?

In this day and age one of the hottest topics is the protection of the planet and a major buzz word to come out of this is ‘sustainability’. Everything from the food we eat to the products we use are purchased on the basis that they’re sustainable. In fact we’re led to believe that if the product isn’t sustainable then you’re doing your fellow people and indeed the planet a huge disservice by buying/using it. Ultimately this may be true, so what does it really mean to buy/use something that’s sustainable? Let’s take a closer look using steel as a case in point.

Used not consumed

Steel is a unique material in that it’s used not consumed. When you buy other products/materials. they’re fit for a purpose and are consumed as such. Ultimately when that purpose has run it’s course or the product has come to the end of it’s natural shelf-life, it’s discarded. This time scale might be something as quick as a plastic cup from a water dispenser which is used and thrown away immediately, through to a vast construction such as a factory or a block of flats which might be up for decades until it’s demolished many years later. The point is that at some point these products have an end shelf life.

Conversely products such as steel are used, rather than consumed. One unique factor that makes steel stand out from any other materials is the fact that it’s truly recyclable. Once steel has been made it can be recycled and used again and again without loss of quality. As it’s infinitely recycled it can be capitalised on for generations to come. In other words once made, it can be used forever. It may come as no surprise therefore that steel is the most recycled product in the world today.

Here are some stats about steel you mightn’t know

  • At present 85% of all steel is recycled at the end of its first use. Within ten years world organisations expect this figure to be closer to 100%

  • 99% of steel contained in scrap cars is already recycled

  • In Europe, 70% of all steel packaging is recycled. This is far more than any other type of packaging material

  • Global demand for steel is growing at a colossal rate so even with efficient scrapping and recycling capabilities, the amount of recycled steel only accounts for one third of the world’s steel demand.

  • In 2015 the world’s steel production stood at 1,599.5 million metric tons with China producing 50.3% of this.

As more and more attention is being given to the way that we produce and consume materials it’s fair to say that the underlying impact of material production matters. As such, the sustainability of steel is one such product which is leading the way for others to follow.

At Metro Steel we fabricate and produce our own steel in house. This saves the end user both time and money. If you have a steel project in mind why not give us a call on 07 3204 1000 and speak with a member of our experienced team about how we can help.

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