Metal Building Sustainability | How Steel Is Recycled

Posted by Ben Sparhawk on Feb 24, 2020 1:01:18 PM

There are many benefits to use a steel building for your next project rather than a traditional timber building.

They are more cost efficient in the long-term, they require little routine maintenance and upkeep, they construct quickly, and they last for generations.

They are also very eco-friendly.

Steel buildings produce fewer emissions when they're being constructed, they are more energy efficient because of the insulation and painting options, and they last longer, so there's no need to rebuild or repair.

They also don't use as many resources during construction.

If you frame your house using pine, the average home requires 22 full grown pine trees just for the frame.

When you take all the extras into account, like hardwood floors, cabinets, furniture, etc. could easily double the number of trees used.

When all is said and done, you're looking at 50 mature pine trees being used in the construction of one home. In large developments, the number of trees needed for construction adds up quickly.

And once you've used the lumber, it can't be recycled. You can plant a new tree, and wait years and years for it to grow, but you can't reuse the tree you've already cut down.

This is where steel buildings have a significant advantage.

There are obviously zero trees needed to construct a steel building.

And, since steel is the most recycled product in the world, once you're done with it, you can recycle it, and it becomes something else.

That's not the case with lumber.

In the article below, we will give you an overview of recycling metal, it's importance, and the various processes.

Table Of Contents

Why Recycle?

Metals are valuable materials that can be recycled over and over without degrading their properties.

You won't be able to tell the difference between a piece of metal that has been recycled 100 times and a piece of metal that has never been used.

Scrap metal has significant value, which is why many people are motivated to collect it for sale to recycling operations.

In addition to the financial incentive, it's also good for the environment.

Recycling metals allows us to preserve natural resources, like trees, while requiring less energy to process than the manufacturing of new products using raw materials.

Recycling emits less carbon dioxide and other harmful gases compared to producing new materials.

The steel for your pre-engineered building can be recycled and used over and over again

Metal Recycling Quick Facts:

  • Nearly 40 percent of worldwide steel production is made using recycled steel.
  • In the United States alone, around 100 million steel and tin cans are used every day.
  • Steel and iron are the most recycled materials in the world due in part to the opportunity to recover large structures as well as the ease of reprocessing. 
  • Every year, around 400 million tons of metal are recycled worldwide.

To learn more about the benefits of metal buildings, check out our article, What Is A Pre-engineered Building?

The Metal Recycling Process

There are 7 main stages in the metal recycling process. They are as follows:

1. Collection

The collection process for metals is different than the collection process of other materials because of their higher scrap value.

Because of this, metal is more likely to be sold to scrap yards instead of landfills.

The largest source of scrap metal in the U.S. is from scrap vehicles.

Other sources of recycled metal are large steel structures, railroad tracks, ships, and farm equipment.

Prompt scrap, which is created during the manufacturing of new products, accounts for half of the scrap metal supply.


2. Sorting

Sorting involves separating metals from the mixed scrap metal stream or the mixed multi-material waste stream.

In automated recycling operations, magnets and sensors are used to aid in material separation.

3. Processing

To allow further processing, the metals will be shredded. Shredding is done to promote the melting process as small shredded metals have a large surface-to-volume ratio.

As a result, they can be melted using comparatively less energy. Typically, steel is changed into steel blocks.

4. Melting

Scrap metal is melted in a large furnace. Each metal is taken to a specific furnace designed to melt that particular metal. This step requires the most energy.

Even still, the energy required to melt and recycle metals is much less than the energy that is needed to produce new metals.

Based on the size of the furnace, the temperature of the furnace, and the amount of metal, melting can take just a few minutes to a few hours.

5. Purification

Purification is done to ensure that the final product is high quality and free of contaminants.

One of the most common methods used for purification is Electrolysis.

6. Solidifying

Once the purification is done, melted metals are carried on a conveyor belt to cool and solidify.

In this stage, the metals are formed into specific shapes, such as bars, so they can be easily used to produce various metal products.

7. Transportation

In the final step, once the metals are cooled and solidified, they are ready to use.

They are then transported to various factories where they can be used as raw material for the production of brand new products, like steel buildings.

When your steel building made out of recycled steel is no longer needed, the metal recycling process begins again.

The Best Metal Building Kits

Consider A Steel Building For Your Next Project

There are many advantages to using steel buildings over traditional timber buildings.

Being eco-friendly is just one of them.

When you build your structure with steel, you are saving trees, reducing your carbon footprint, and saving money all at the same time.

CDMG Pre-engineered Metal Buildings

If you're looking to expand your business, doing so with CDMG's pre-engineered metal buildings can help your business grow the way it needs to.

Our team can design, supply, and erect your steel building. We are with you from step one until the completion of your project, making sure that everything meets your specifications.

With years of experience and expertise in the industry, we will help you get the steel building that's just right for your project.

Click the button below to get started.



Check Out Our Other Articles:

How To Finance Your Metal Building

Should I Invest In A Metal Building Or Add On To My Current Building?

Avoid These Mistakes When Buying Your New Metal Building

Original Article Is Here

Topics: pre-engineered metal building

About The Author

ben-sparhawkI'm Ben Sparhawk, the Content Writer and Marketing Account Manager for CDMG. I write to showcase the work that CDMG does and everything related to the pre-engineered metal building industry as well as their engineering capabilities. When I'm not working on content, you can find me spending time with my wife and children. You can also find me in the gym, trying to better myself, and I also enjoy spending time outdoors hiking or checking out local parks.