What Makes Stainless Steel a Sustainable Material?

Stainless, Steel, Sustainability

Sustainable

 

People

The material, in its use or in its production process, respects
the human being, especially in terms of health and safety.
A sustainable material does not harm the people working
to produce it, or the people who handle it during its use,
recycling and ultimate disposal.
Stainless steel is not harmful to people during either its
production or use. A protective layer forms naturally on all
stainless steels because of the inclusion of chromium. The
passive layer protects the steel from corrosion – ensuring a
long life. As long as the correct grade of stainless is selected
for an application, the steel remains inert and harmless to the
people who handle it and the environment.
These characteristics have made stainless steel the primary
material in medical, food processing, household and catering
applications.

Planet

The emission footprints of the material, especially those related
to carbon, water and air, are minimised. Reuse and recyclability
are at high levels. The material has low maintenance costs and
a long life, both key indicators that the impact of the material
on the planet is at the lowest levels possible.
The electric arc furnace (EAF), the main process used to
make stainless steels, is extremely efficient. An EAF has a low
impact on the environment in terms of both CO2 and other
emissions. The EAF is also extremely efficient at processing
scrap stainless, ensuring that new stainless steel has an
average recycled content of more than 60%.
Stainless steels are easily recycled to produce more stainless
steels and this process can be carried on indefinitely. It is
estimated that about 80% of stainless steels are recycled at
the end of their life. As stainless steel has a high intrinsic
value, it is collected and recycled without any economic
incentives from the public purse.

Profit

The industries producing the material show long-term
sustainability and growth, provide excellent reliability and
quality for their customers, and ensure a solid and reliable
supply-chain to the end consumer.
Choosing the right stainless steel grade for an application
ensures that it will have low maintenance costs, a long life and
be easy to recycle at the end of that life. This makes stainless an
economical choice in consumer durables (such as refrigerators
and washing machines) and in capital goods applications (such
as transportation, chemical and process applications).
Stainless steels also have better mechanical properties than
most metals. Its fire and corrosion resistance make stainless
a good choice in transportation, building or public works such
as railways, subways, tunnels and bridges. These properties,
together with stainless steel’s mechanical behaviour, are of
prime importance in these applications to ensure human
beings are protected and maintenance costs are kept low.
Stainless also has an aesthetically pleasing appearance,
making it the material of choice in demanding architectural
and design projects.

Taking into account its recyclability, reuse, long life, low
maintenance and product safety, the emissions from the
production and use of stainless steels are minimal when
compared to any other alternative material. A detailed and
precise analysis of the sustainability of stainless steel makes
the choice of stainless a logical one. This might explain why,
as society and governments are becoming more conscious of
environmental and economic factors, the growth in the use of
stainless steel has been the highest of any material in the world.

Sited: WorldStainless

Ashley G. // Editor SMC

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An Industry Built On Innovation

Packaging, Stainless, Steel, Sustainability

Steel Packaging

 

Steel Can
The steel can was invented more than 200 years ago.

Cans were first used as containers for food during the Napoleonic wars. The idea for preserving food by heating it in containers was developed by Nicolas Appert. He used glass jars, which were sent to French troops on the Russian front. In 1810, British merchant Peter Durand was granted the patent for a method of preserving food and other perishable items using vessels made of various materials, including steel.

Not surprisingly, food safety is still one of the most important benefits of canned food packaging.

However, food storage is only one of the many applications of steel packaging.

Steel packaging is durable, tamper-resistant and convenient. It is also ‘shelf-stable’, meaning that it can protect the contents from deterioration for a long time. In addition to these attributes, the steel used in packaging also has an aesthetic function. After all, packaging is designed not only to store the product but also to advertise it to the consumer.

An industry built on innovation

In some countries, steel cans are also referred to as tin cans or simply tins. There are thousands of applications, from the familiar soft drink can to unusually-shaped paint tins that are easy to hold in one hand and retro designer biscuit tins. Steel packaging is used for:

  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Promotional materials
  • Aerosols
  • Paints and chemicals
  • Bottle tops and caps

The majority of steel used in packaging is tinplate, which is steel that has been coated with a layer of tin to prevent corrosion. Although tinplate only accounts for around 1% of steel production, it is a highly visible and dynamic industry. Brands and products compete for consumers’ attention on the shelves of supermarkets and other retailers.

The manufacturing processes used in steel packaging are high-tech and sophisticated. Commercial production began in 1812, in a canning factory near London that supplied food to the British army. In 1846, cans were manufactured at the rate of 60 an hour. Modern can-makers can produce up to 1,000 cans a minute.

Once the steel is coated with tin, the tinplate can be coated with polymer, lacquered and printed. The final result is an attractive, safe and functional product.

Highly recyclable

Steel holds a unique position as a sustainable packaging material because it is 100% recyclable. Steel cans are the most recycled form of packaging. A significant proportion of all the steel in a can comes from recycled sources.

 

Cited: World Steel

Ashley G. // Editor SMC

New Times Call For New Solutions

Stainless, Steel, Sustainability

LCA

It is time the world starts to look at the larger picture.  The following facts may lead you to question yourself or someone else during your next decision phase. We must remember that costs are not only those we see in the direct manufacturing of a product but also hidden in the use and recycling phases.

Key facts:

  • Life cycle assessment (LCA) is vital for the future. Environmental regulations that only regulate one phase (the use phase) of a product’s life cycle can create unintended consequences, such as increased CO2 emissions.
  • One example of this is vehicle exhaust or tail pipe regulations which encourage the use of low density materials which are more CO2intensive to produce.
  • LCA considers production, manufacture, the use phase and end-of-life recycling and disposal. Life cycle thinking leads to immediate environmental benefit.
  • In addition to CO2, LCA assesses other impacts such as resource consumption, energy demand and acidification.
  • LCA is easy to implement, cost effective and produces affordable and beneficial solutions for material decision-making and product design.
  • Worldsteel developed one of the first global sector databases for life cycle inventory data and invests to keep it current.

 

Cited: World Steel

Ashley G. // Editor SMC

Steel The Green Option

Stainless, Steel

steel pipes

The figures by APEAL, the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging, indicate that in 2012, 2.7 million tonnes of steel packaging were recycled, corresponding to an average European rate of 74%. This reinforces the long-term trend for steel as the most recycled packaging material in Europe.

Steel packaging’s recycling rate has increased threefold over the last 20 years and steel remains the most recycled packaging material in Europe. Plastic, beverage cartons, aluminium and glass have rates of 35%, 39%, 68% and 70% respectively (source: APEAL).

Alexander Mohr, Secretary General of APEAL, commented: “While steel maintains its position as the most recycled packaging material in Europe, it is clear there is still some work to be done in order for the industry to hit its vision of 80% recycling rate by 2020.”

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, for the US, the overall recycling rate for steel in 2012 was 88%, with nearly 84 million tonnes of steel recycled. This included the more than 1.3 million tons of tin plate steel – the equivalent of 21 billion steel cans, which were recycled at a rate of 71%, the highest among packaging materials.

“The steel industry’s internationally-recognised energy efficiency, coupled with the recycling rate that is the highest of any material, proves our commitment to sustainability and resource conservation,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO, American Iron and steel Institute.

Steel products naturally contribute to resource conservation through their lightweight potential, durability and recyclability. Steel is 100% recyclable. It can be infinitely recycled without loss of key properties, ensuring that the resources invested in its production are not lost and can be infinitely reused. Steel recycling accounts for significant raw material and energy savings.

Due to its magnetic properties, steel is easy to separate from waste streams, enabling high recovery rates.

Recovery rates differ from recycling rates. For example, about 85% of automobiles are recovered for recycling, and nearly 100% of the steel in these recovered vehicles is recycled. More than 1,400 kg of iron ore, 740 kg of coal, and 120 kg of limestone are saved for one tonne of steel scrap made into new steel.
Table 1: Post-consumer steel product recovery rates by sector – worldsteel estimates

Sector Recovery rate 2007 (%) Recovery 2050 (%) Life cycle in years
Construction 85% 90% 40 to 70
Automotive 85% 90% 7 to 15
Machinery 90% 95% 10 to 20
Electrical and domestic appliances 50% 65% 4 to 10
Weighted global average 83% 90% N/A

 

Steel is the most recycled industrial material in the world, with over 500 Mt recycled annually, including pre- and post-consumer scrap. Over 22 billion tonnes of steel has been recycled worldwide since 1900 owing to steel’s 100% recyclability.

View our website for more information or contact our professional team through our inquiry system by clicking here.

Cited: World Steel

Ashley G. // Editor SMC

STEEL – a Sustainable Future Ahead

Uncategorized

steel_cans_0Steel is essential to the modern world, and its use is critical in enabling man to move towards a sustainable future. Whether in lighter, more efficient vehicles or renewable energy generation, steel is a fundamental part of a greener world. Steel is also necessary for new, highly efficient power stations and the construction of smart electrical grids, transport infrastructure development, energy-efficient residential housing and commercial buildings.

More than 1.6 billion tonnes of steel are produced every year.

Currently, 45% of steel is produced and used in mainland China. There will be continuing growth in the volume of steel produced, particularly in developing areas such as Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Indian sub-continent, where steel will be vital in raising the welfare of developing societies. In these regions, more than 60% of steel consumption will be used to create new infrastructure.

 

 


Energy efficiency

In the last 50 years, the steel industry has reduced its energy consumption per tonne of steel produced by 60%. However, due to this dramatic improvement in energy efficiency, it is estimated that there is little room for further improvement on the basis of existing technology. Keeping total global CO2 emissions at the current level or better depends on the development and introduction of radical new steelmaking technologies with a lower carbon footprint. Many of the technologies that are being researched are associated with carbon capture and storage (CCS), which will require government and public support for implementation.

 


Recycling


 

A critical element in reducing the carbon emissions from the steel life cycle is to optimise the recycling of steel. Steel is an almost unique material in its capacity to be infinitely recycled without loss of properties or performance. This, in combination with a long history of significant efforts to increase recycling rates, has resulted in steel leading the recycling statistics, for example in cars and cans. Policies can provide further support for recycling by placing emphasis on recyclability and design for dismantling.

Cited: World Steel Association

Ashley G. // Editor SMC

Traditional business norm still powerful in the digital age

Uncategorized

Business Card1


Social Media Era


 

In the era of social media and interconnectivity of people through smartphones, it is easy to think you are always connected or can easily reach others through the internet. However, a website address or a person’s LinkedIn account is easily lost in translation if a person does not have something tangible to remind them to reconnect after the meeting. Regardless of the all technology in everyday life, there is still a need for adding a personal touch, such as a business card, to your networking strategy.

In today’s day and age many professionals are bombarded with emails and many are left unread.  Business cards can be a creative and tangible reminder of the connection created.  So why not make your brand stand out with a premium stainless steel business card? When meeting in person, networking with business cards is an affordable approach to reconnecting in the future after your initial meeting.


A business card attracts attention and showcase personality.


The creative stainless steel design portrays more than just your contact details but also adds a persona to the company brand. With highly saturated markets that are hard to penetrate you must ensure that you stand out from your competitors. Don’t follow the crowd strive to be modern, sharp and elite.

The powerful team at Shanghai Metal Corporation has the technology and resources to help make this idea reality.  Act now and contact us for further information and start seeing the results.

Citation: Notes on Design . (2014). Sessions. Retrieved July 8, 2014, from Why Business Cards Still Matter in the Digital Age: http://www.sessions.edu/notes-on-design/why-business-cards-still-matter-in-the-digital-age

Ashley G. // Editor SMC