National Recycling Week:  Facts on steel wastage in Australia

Every year, the team at ShapeCUT recognise National Recycling Week, which is held between November 13 – 19. The advocacy group responsible for spreading the word is Planet Ark, who bring a national focus to the environmental benefits of properly recycling.

Last year, we focused on the value of steel recycling; a household item that often gets placed in the wrong bin. You can read all about the rules of steel recycling in our blog on steel recycling and discover the mechanics of making steel new again in our blog on the inside of a steel recycling factory – and how it resembles hell on Earth!

This year we’re focusing on the facts. Specifically, the current state-of-play for recycled metals and how proper recycling is beneficial for the environment, your conscious and your wallet.

Here’s what we know about recycled steel

  • For every tonne of recycled steel, we save 1131 kg of iron ore, 633kg of coal and 54kg of limestone.
  • Any stainless steel item is currently made up of 60% recycled steel
  • Slag, which is the most common waste product from steel, is one of the most reused by-products, commonly used as aggregation for concrete, asphalt and surface treatments for roads
  • In Australia, steel makes up 2.5% of the waste that goes to landfill
  • The average bus contains 75,000 cans worth of steel

When it comes to proper recycling, Australian’s are a bit rubbish at it

Australia is making great headway to ensuring steel is a sustainable and reusable product, but we’re not there yet. This is how recycling steel can pay off in the long run:

  1. The earth iron ore supply is predicted to last for another 400 years. This isn’t that long in the big scheme of the world, but by recycling scrap metal we can conserve valuable natural resources and raw materials. Companies will also see a significant reduction in the cost of sourcing raw materials, which can then be passed on to the consumer – it’s a win-win.
  1. There’s no denying that creating new products – from sourcing it, to making it, not to mention the air/road kilometres it travels – generates a fair bit of air and water pollution. A great way around this is by using recycled materials, as it generally creates less pollution
  1. Did you know if one person on your street puts the wrong material in the wrong skip bin, it can contaminate the entire truck load, and in the worst-case scenario, the recycling centre is forced to throw that truckload into the landfill! By putting items in the right bin, your smaller metal items (like aluminium foil, yoghurt lids etc.) can be properly recycled and save precious landfill space.
  1. Steel is 100% recyclable and it doesn’t lose any of the properties which essentially means it has an unlimited lifespan. It’s the perfect sustainable item if we recycle more of it. Doing so will reduce the need to overuse virgin materials, ultimately conserving soil integrity and wildlife habitats.
  1. We’ll save energy too. Recycled products don’t require as much energy to manufacture, meaning we can conserve scarce oil supplies and help Australia reach their greenhouse gas emissions goals.

ShapeCUT is committed to a sustainable future using steel products. Whether you’re looking for professional steel cutting services or a range of steel plates for your next project, get in contact with the ShapeCUT team today.

Recycle Right Steel Poster ( 140kb pdf file)