What Exactly Is Stainless Steel And Why Should You Recycle It?
We use numerous items made of stainless steel in our homes, at workplaces and other venues we are in every day. Steel and stainless steel are strong and durable materials with many desired properties, therefore recycling them is of importance. Below is a brief description of what steel is, and how it is recycled.
Stainless steel is an alloy which is iron-based. Most of the stainless steel sold has nickel and chromium added to it. Depending on its use, there are other metals such as molybdenum, vanadium, tungsten and titanium used in stainless steel. The 5-10% of chromium and about 1% carbon used is responsible for its appearance. The surface fights corrosion, biological growth, and is easy to clean. Stainless steel is heat-resistant and has beauty, durability and is recyclable. Some varieties of steel are magnetic, some non-magnetic and some are alloy combinations. Ferric, duplex, martensitic and austenitic are kinds of stainless steel.
Most of the world’s steel, about 70%, is manufactured by the chemical reduction of iron ore. In the 19th century, the Bessemer process, made it possible to mass produce steel with lower expenses, compared to the earlier cementation process.
Each year, the world consumption of steel tops 25 million tons. Over the past decade, the demand has gone up further. This is why there is a great need to use recycled steel. The metals titanium, vanadium, tungsten added to some steel, are scarce, this again indicates the importance and economic gains of recycling.
Recycling Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is 100% recyclable and end-of-life stainless steel is 90% recyclable. Every steel item used is 60% recycled. It does not lose its property when recycled. Recycling saves; 1 ton of recycled steel saves 110 kg of iron ore, 630 kg of coal, 55 kg of limestone, and 2.3 cubic meters of land space.
Methods and Steps in Steel Recycling
- Sorting – Magnets help in recovering the steel items from other materials.
- Shredding – Rotating steel magnetic drums help to separate this steel further.
- Media Separation – In this method, liquid flotation, high pressure air and electric currents are used to separate the steel.
- Shearing – Hydraulic machinery is used to exert tremendous pressure to cut or break large steel items, such as those brought from rail or ship yards.
- Melting – This separated steel is melted in a furnace. The nature of the secondary raw material, decides the difference in this procedural step.
- Storage and Transport – The melted steel is then poured into slabs and ingots for easy transport.
- Preparation for Remanufacture – Depending on the items to be made, the slabs and ingots are beaten into rolls. From this steel, all kinds of products ranging from cranes to clips are manufactured.
We, at Scrap Mart Metals of St Louis, are ready with our experts, to help you in your recycling needs. Bring your steel items, both large or small. We have top dollar pay outs for all your recyclable metals. We have a drive-on scale for your ferrous metals. Contact us.