The world is becoming slowly more interested in long-term builds, eco-friendly construction, and recyclable materials. In an age in which we’re warned of catastrophic climate change, it’s easy to see why companies are taking the initiative to use more eco-friendly materials and to actively clean up their supply chain where possible.
This raises the question: where does the steel industry fit into this picture? This guide attempts to offer some quick insights to show you how the steel industry is faring in the fight for a more eco-friendly world.
Perhaps the least eco-friendly part of the steel industry is how steel is made. As you’ll know, producing industrial-quality steel – the type that’s used in construction or for other important projects – takes a great deal of energy in the form of heat and the refining process. This is in some sense unavoidable: it’s a part of what makes steel so strong.
However, the up-side to steel production is that this investment of energy (which could, of course, be generated primarily by green resources – though now it a coal-based exercise) is a long-term one. Steel-based structures can stand for centuries, as the Manhattan skyline continues to demonstrate. Compare this to the fickle shelf-life of your average concrete structure – around 80 years – and you’ll slowly come to see why steel is still a preferred building material in this age of eco-conscious materials. Steel structures last: and in an age where reusing and recycling costs energy, cash, and the planet – that counts for something.
Steel in Recycling
One of the wonderful properties of metal is that it can be recycled with ease: all you have to do to ensure that your metal is recyclable is to melt and distill the impurities, and then make new shapes and materials.
Steel is, however, also an integral part of the recycling industry as a whole. Machines that help compress waste – balers, and compactors – are often made of steel, as is the baling wire that binds them together than you can find at sites such as Baling Wire Direct. Steel is an integral part of the recycling supply chain, enabling companies to crush, store, transport and process their waste with greater ease in the modern business environment.
Making Steel Greener
These points are not to say the steel is the green king of the materials industry: far from it. Production materials are all going to need to rethink their processes to align themselves with a new age in which your energy expenditure and waste production are key to how your business is rated by potential clients, customers, and consumers.
So, where can the industry improve? Well, ensuring that mines are replaced with forests, and the mining process itself is as eco-friendly as possible, is a good place to start. If steel plants can produce their green energy – perhaps with the help of wind turbines – that would sincerely help with the energy efficiency of the process. And managers across the industry need to take the initiative to push greener options within their companies and supply chains, too.
This guide shows you where the steel industry is situated in our fight for a greener business climate in 2019 and beyond.