Steel, once it has been produced, is one of the most sustainable materials out there even though it is not naturally occurring. The debates are ongoing and continuous, and the green online forums are awash with theories on what the most usable and green materials are. Steel must be on this list simply because it is one of the most sustainable materials that there is.
A sustainable material is one that can be manufactured on a wide scale basis without over reliance on the raw material, nonrenewable resources or fossil fuels that must be extracted from nature. Steel is known for its durability, longevity, and environmental friendliness. Made primarily from a mix of iron and carbon, with a few other elements such as chromium and other alloys, once it is made it isn’t going anywhere in a hurry, and steel will last longer than most other materials in the world.
Steel is the world’s most recycled material
If one examines the UK steel history, it is clear to see exactly why steel is regarded as the most recycled material in the world and shows exactly how the steel industry has been integral to the growth of the economy as a whole. It may have had some bad press as to the methods that are used to produce high grade steel and the amount of carbon produced as well as the use of coal, but steel is still one of the (if not the) best-known materials for a number of societal needs. It is thus recycled more than any other material and can be used indefinitely. In fact, over 70% of American steel is recycled annually and this number is simply growing year on year.
More uses than most other materials
Steel is used in construction, electrical appliances, car manufacturing, gardening and safety and security (fencing and more). Then there are the small hinges, screws, cutlery and more that steel is used for. It is generally one of the most widely used materials in the world.
It is durable
Steel as aforementioned will last longer than most other building materials, even concrete weathers faster than the steel that provides it with its structure. As long as it is protected from the weather and the elements steel can last forever.
If used correctly steel could be the resource that leads to a new, greener way of manufacturing. The idea is to use greener means of creating new steel, using fewer fossil fuels to run smelters and steel plants, but also to use greener means of recycling steel. The American steel industry for example is regarded as one of the greenest, cleanest and most energy efficient sector in the world. The crux is in the manner that it is made and remade, smelters are much cleaner and greener fuels are used to shred and smelt old steel to make new steel with the exact same properties that the original steel would have had.