Steel is the most recycled material in the world, with more steel being recycled than all other materials combined.
Close to 90% of all old steel is recycled. This is due to the amazing metallurgical properties of steel, which mean that steel and many metals can be recycled repeatedly without any loss in performance.
There are many uses to for your used scrap metal, here are a few of them.
Recycled steel is used extensively in the construction industry, particularly when building roads and bridges. Two out of every three tons of new steel produced is from recycled steel, although there is always some quantity of new steel included. As the demand for steel continues to grow, so do the uses, particularly in the industrial world.
Scrap metal is used in the manufacturing of trains, planes and automobiles. This might sound scary but recycled metal has been used to produce transportation vehicles for a long time. This doesn’t mean they are any less safe or efficient than if only new steel was used.
Scrap metal is also widely used for manufacturing containers, for which there is never a shortage of demand, as well as in the production of many appliances, especially aluminium ones.
This use of recycled steel makes all these products far cheaper than if only new steel was used, so keep recycling.
It’s not just the lifespan of metal that is amazing, it’s the wide range of products that we use in our everyday lives. When it comes to the home, recycled metal is widely used. From furnishings and fixtures to roofing and window frames, recycled metal products make for beautiful, durable and practical household furniture.
Include in that list chairs, tables, benches and lamp posts, and you’d be amazed at how much your home is using recycled steel without you even knowing about it.
While steel is certainly a practical material with multiple uses, it is probably most widely used in the creation of art. The beauty of old metal products, like farm appliances, is that sometimes the object itself is a work of art without anything been done to it. Stick an old farm machine anywhere on a farm and it looks cool. It’s even better if you can put one in your garden, its vintage, old school art and makes for a great jungle gym for the kids.
Of course when real artists get hold of some scrap metal, the world is your canvass and the results are often astonishing. One of the most famous metal artists is John Lopez, a sculptor from South Dakota who created these life-sized scrap metal sculptures with a cool Western flavour.
Scrap metal is also used to make creative furniture pieces that often blur the line between art and functionality, in essence doing both. Whether it’s a table from old link chains, a steel chair shaped like a scorpion or a bench from an old wrought iron gate.
But often art is just art for beauty and creativity’s sake. In these cases steel is an amazingly pliable material, resulting in small steel butterflies, large robots, old trains, an owl or small airplane, the possibilities are endless. Check out these images of steel art.
Much of our food packaging used today comes from recycled aluminium and steel. Most cans contain some part of recycled metal and many are made from 100% recycled materials. The turnaround time of scrap metal is quite remarkable and within two months of being scrapped, a piece of that metal can appear in your baked beans tin.
The beauty of recycling steel and in particular aluminium, is that making products from recycled scrap metal requires far less processing, resulting in less greenhouse gas emissions, making it more cost-effective and environmental friendly.
Because of the heavy weight of steel such as cars and its many uses as a recycled material, you can either sell it yourself or get someone to collect it for free.