Posted on July 9, 2014 | Posted by Joseph Fazzio Blogger
Steel is a highly sustainable resource, with steel made in the United States consisting of more than ninety percent recycled material. The remaining ten percent is made up of newly processed steel, since there is a greater demand for steel than there is existing steel. Around the world, steel is the most recycled industrial material. Its never-ending lifecycle is due partly to its ability to retain all its useful properties. Steel that has been repurposed loses nothing in the recycling process. It is exactly as strong and reliable as it was before. Because of this, scrap steel commands high prices. That price is also an extremely effective recycling incentive.
Extracting with Magnets
Scrap steel is easily recovered from trash heaps and abandoned buildings. Magnets extract the resource from the surrounding elements so it can be reincarnated as a new product. The recycling process relies on electricity and oxygen to melt down the old steel and mix it with new elements. Over time the energy used for making steel has continued to steadily decrease. The old style of open furnaces is very rarely used since they are expensive and negatively impact the environment. Only about four of these furnaces are still in operation. The vast majority of steel is produced using electricity and sustainable materials.
Reprocessing is Cost Effective
While reprocessing is relatively cheap and easy, an even cheaper option that uses even less energy is to simply repurpose existing steel. Increasingly, people have been choosing to repurpose old steel instead of selling it as scrap. For example, instead of immediately selling old machines as scrap, the machines can be inspected thoroughly and working parts extracted for use elsewhere. Using parts of old buildings in new homes has also risen in popularity. Since steel has such a long lifespan, repurposing parts from an old building adds history and character to new houses. By installing old steel beams and roofs in new houses, the structural integrity of the new building is preserved. With an average lifespan of forty to a hundred years, steel doesn’t often have to be replaced. Once installed, it can withstand many natural disasters, leading to lower overall costs to the homeowner.
Scrap steel is a valuable resource, whether it is recycled or repurposed. Since it can be reused indefinitely, steel serves as a great option for builders who want to be environmentally conscious. If you’re looking for strength, stability, and sustainability in your building materials, consider steel your best option.