Khawaja Metals Group "The House Of Stainless Steel"

Environmental aspects of Stainless Steel

Recycling and the long term life of Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel is theoretically 100% recyclability and its long term life makes it an ideal environmental performer much better than many other materials. Stainless Steel products are designed to have a long life often spanning over several decades. This long term life generally is the reason for choosing Stainless Steel in the first place. However of course there will be a time when the Stainless Steel does come to the end of its useful life. The end of life may be reached due to fashion changes (product still functions but the design is out-dated), technological redundancy (product is replaced by a more efficient technology) or the product reaches the end of its design life.

Even though the end of life is reached, this does not mean that the Stainless Steel is not useful as a recyclable product. The main alloying elements of Stainless Steel (chromium, nickel and molybdenum) are all highly valuable and can be easily be recovered and separated from other materials
“Did you know that any stainless steel object has an approximate recycled content of 60%”
In 2007, around 27 million tonnes of stainless steel were produced, taking approximately 16 million tonnes of recycled stainless steel and other materials to generate this quantity. The amount of recycled Stainless Steel in any Stainless object is approximately 60%, this will increase however as the use of stainless steel expands as stainless steel produced today will not necessarily be recycled for 20-30 years.

Stainless Steel is made up of:
  • 25% Old scrap such as end of life products
  • 35% New scrap which is returning from production
  • 40% New raw materials added”

So how does Stainless Steel improve modern day life?

Stainless Steel has many environmental and social benefits. Stainless Steel products enable us to lead a healthier life and are cleaner for the environment as well. Even though it is impossible to demonstrate all areas where it is beneficial, below are some of the main examples where Stainless Steel is used.

Keeps water clean

It is so important that water is kept clean, not just for our health but for the environment as well. Stainless Steel can be used to improve the cleanliness of water. The list below shows how stainless steel can help keep water cleaner: Stainless Steel Pipes for drinking systems help to keep water clean and quality standards high. Stainless steel guarantees lasting hygiene and prevents the formation of any medium on which bacteria can grow. Correct grade selection will minimise the risk of any localised corrosion, meaning there is practically no contamination of water in contact with the stainless steel. Leaching levels of nickel and chromium have also been proven to be less than the maxima permitted by the European Drinking Water Directive. For more information on stainless steels and drinking water click here Waste water plants are using stainless steel in the transportation of waste water products, due to the possible corrosive nature of the water. Stainless Steels durability and low maintenance also make it the best material to use. Therefore the reason for Stainless Steel is to maximise service life and to minimise malfunctioning.

Reduces waste

Stainless Steel can be used to prevent the amount of waste gases and materials given off, as well as the disposal of waste products. The list below demonstrates some areas where waste reduction occurs: Because the composting process releases many corrosive gases, stainless steel is best used for this process. Other reasons for its use include its ability to last over a long time period, therefore making it more economically attractive.

Stainless Steel is being used for the recycling of cardboard and paper, meaning it makes a major contribution to the reduction of the waste steam as well as the protection to trees.