The stainless steel object you hold in your hand is not made entirely of virgin raw material. The iron, nickel, and chromium content of stainless steel objects you use everyday do not only come from mines. Instead, 60% of the materials come from objects people have already used. Collected scraps undergo processing and testing in recycling facilities. The recycled stainless steel then becomes equipment in food production and storage, healthcare, transportation, and building and construction.
Making old steel like new
In Australia, tonnes of scrap metal are exported every year to different countries in Asia. According to rawmetalcorp.com.au, the steel mills in these countries process stainless steel objects nearing end life in specialised recycling facilities. Raw materials, in combination with the scraps, heat up in furnaces.
It all starts with melting junkyard stainless steel. It is not as simple as re-molding the metal once it has melted, and making new metal coils, wires, sheets, and plates. The multi-step procedure includes removal of impurities. The molten metal also undergoes tests and chemical analysis. These are necessary to determine whether it is good enough for the intended end product.
Putting your scrap back to the supply chain
Stainless steel materials offer users long service life. Yet, even after they have reached their limit for use, the scraps are new life through recycling. Stainless steel retains its innate qualities after recycling, such as anti-corrosion, rust-resistance, and structural versatility. It is really amazing that stainless remains undiminished despite re-processing. The alloying elements are still of high value to metal manufacturers. This means you get the same benefits offered by 100% new stainless steel.
The government as well as the private sector is more aware now of the importance of using sustainable materials. To boost the positive impact of this way of thinking, individuals and households must contribute to the campaign. You can take part in the closed sustainability loop, with stainless steel at the centre, by selling junk to scrap metal collection companies in Brisbane.