National Recycling Week and Steel Recycling

This week, 7 – 13 November 2016, is National Recycling Week and Planet Ark –Australia’s leading not-for-profit recycling advocacy group – is urging everyone to review their recycling practices at home and in the office. At ShapeCUT, we understand the value of steel recycling and we’re taking the opportunity of National Recycling Week to draw householders’ attention to this 100% recyclable resource that often gets put in the wrong bin.

Steel is in more household items than you think

Steel is the most recycled material on the planet and along with glass; it’s also one of the most valuable materials sitting in your rubbish bin. Steel is a significant component in everyday items, such as:

  • Aerosol cans – deodorant, shaving cream, hairspray, hair mousse
  • Food tins and cans – this seems obvious
  • Bottle tops – lots of people put the bottle in the bin, but don’t forget about the cap – it’s 100% recyclable
  • Paint tins – once the paint has been properly disposed of, paint tins are 100% recyclable
  • Chemical tins – these tins have to be empty. Chemicals are regarded as hazardous waste, so if the tins are not empty, check with your local council about hazardous waste collection
  • Fridges, freezers, microwaves, etc. – items that are too large to fit in your household recycling bin can still be recycled. If you’ve missed your free local kerbside collection, contact your council and depending on the item, they may be able to either direct you to their steel recycling centre or a local scrap metal merchant. There’s a chance that old broken fridge could be worth money.

How does a steel tin get recycled?

It’s unlikely that your household recyclables will be made of 100% steel. The first step a scrap metal merchant or steel refinery will take is to evaluate the steel content of your steel recycling item. After removing the other alloys, the remaining iron can simply be melted down and used in new steel production.

Understanding the rules

A study released this month by Planet Ark shows that while many householders describe themselves as good recyclers, there are two major mistakes that even the most dedicated and self-described ‘expert’ recyclers still make. These are:

  1. 57% of ‘committed’ recyclers make the mistake of thinking old or broken drinking glasses are recycled. They are NOT. It’s only glass containers – made of thicker glass that can be placed in the recycling bin.
  2. 35% of ‘committed’ recyclers make the mistake of placing ceramic plates and bowls in the recycling bin. Ceramics are NOT recyclable and actually cause problems with glass and steel recycling if they somehow make it into recyclable waste stream.

ShapeCUT is Queensland’s premier provider of steel profile cutting, providing the full range of steel processing services including laser cutting, oxy cutting, high definition plasma cutting and machining that can be delivered with same day service. If you’re interested in knowing more about steel and steel processing, sign up to our newsletter today and follow us on Facebook.