steelwork engineering

Steel – the sustainable building material of the future

Sustainable steel manufacture and construction from Steelwork Engineering

Here at Steelwork Engineering we often discuss the superior sustainability of steel. With this in mind, we thought we’d explore steel’s sustainability and the benefits offers.

The topic of the environment is rarely out of the news these days; especially when it comes to single use, unsustainable materials such as plastic. Plastic water bottles are an obvious example as although they can be recycled and turned into new bottles, the vast majority still end up in landfill sites whilst also polluting our oceans and rivers. Environmental organisations and increasing numbers of governments are keen to put across the point that by buying products which can only be used once to then be thrown away has a significant, negative impact upon the planet. So what are the benefits of manufacturing, using and reusing a sustainable material such as steel?

Steel is used and not consumed

Steel is almost unique in that it is used rather than consumed. This means that in contrast, other materials or products are fit for a single purpose and when that purpose has been fulfilled and the product comes to the end of its natural life, it is thrown away. This analogy can be used to describe anything from a disposable plastic drinking straw to a building such as a warehouse which is constructed, only to be demolished years later. The point is exactly the same for both: each has an end of shelf life.

However, products such as steel are used rather than consumed. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of steel is that it is completely recyclable. Once it has been made, it can be recycled and then used again and again without loss of quality. It’s this infinite ‘recyclability’ which helps to make steel so sustainable as once it has been manufactured, it can be remade and repurposed indefinitely.

Steel – the facts and figures

Here are some little known facts about steel – some of which might surprise you:

  • 99% of the steel in scrap vehicles has already been recycled.
  • Although 85% of all steel is currently recycled after first use, with the next decade global organisations anticipate that this figure will be much closer to 100%.
  • Despite efficient scrappage and recycling facilities, the demand for steel is continuing to grow at an incredible rate. However, one third of the amount currently used has been recycled.
  • 70% of all steel packaged is recycled in Europe – this is far higher than any other type of packing material.

Contact Steelwork Engineering for more information

Structural steel is the ideal material for use in a wide range of buildings and products, including staircases, mezzanine flooring and fire escapes. We offer a wide range of services covering all aspects of structural steel design, manufacture and installation, designed to provide our clients with sustainable, cost effective solutions. To find out more or to talk through your requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.