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Steel recycling and sustainability

If you work in the construction industry, you would know that sustainability is a key driver through the entire building life cycle.

But if you’re purchasing your steel for hobby supplies or one of the many other multitude of uses for steel and metal, you might not realise just how much of a consideration sustainability and steel recycling are in the production and use of steel.

At Edcon Steel, we’re proud to be part of an industry where sustainability is a focus and to partner with businesses who are leading the way in creating sustainable solutions for the future.

One of those businesses is InfraBuild. InfraBuild supplies a range of steel to Edcon, much of which is made from steel that is recovered and is recycled right here in Sydney.

The steel recycling journey
InfraBuild's steel mill, located at Rooty Hill in Sydney.

The steel recycling journey

InfraBuild is one of Australia’s largest scrap metal recycling businesses and specialises in the safe handling, collection and processing of more than 1.4 million tonnes of ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal every year.

Interestingly, the national capture rate of steel into recycling programs is very high, at around 90%.

“We are able to get around 95% of that scrap back into new products,” explains InfraBuild Construction Market Manager David Bell. “There is very little material loss.

We are able to take what would otherwise become waste in landfill and turn it back into a resource to have a new life.”

There are so many benefits to metal and steel recycling. It not only reduces waste but also reduces the impact the industry has on the environment.

“Recycling saves scrap metal from becoming waste. Recycling provides a continuous resource from old vehicles, appliances and infrastructure that can be melted and reshaped into new products countless times,” explains Mr Bell.

That recycled steel and metal is also used in many of the products we stock at Edcon Steel, some of which can contain up to 95% recycled product.

“The Australian market has a mature and sophisticated recycling supply chain,” explains Rob Johnson, Infrabuild Customer and Market Relationship Manager.

“Steel is infinitely recyclable and there’s a very high capture rate through the chain. It’s a fully circular model to capture scrap steel, feed it into the mill and then turn it into a new product.”

More than just recycling scrap steel, InfraBuild also finds commercial outcomes for the by-products of the steel making process. For instance, InfraBuild collects dust generated by their Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF), which has a high zinc content. This is sold and reprocessed to extract the zinc which then re-enters the global zinc supply chain. Separately, slag generated from the EAF process is sold and converted into road base products for constructing new roads.

Other than being better for the environment, choosing sustainable materials can also be good for business. The Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Green Star Rating is one good example.

This is a voluntary scheme that rates the sustainability of a building project against a set of defined criteria. When it comes to choosing the materials for a building, in order to achieve a high Green Star rating, you should consider a number of factors, including the life cycle impacts of the material and the selection of responsible building materials.

Where a high Green Star rating is something you are looking to achieve, selecting materials that come from a sustainable supply chain is one step you should consider.

Further information

Australian steel manufacturer InfraBuild is proud of their efforts and their website has plenty of further information about their efforts in the environmental space. If you’re interested in learning more about sustainability, check out:

Your one-stop steel shop

Whether you want to know more about steel recycling or you’re looking for steel and metal products for your next project, we can help.

Edcon Steel is Australia’s most comprehensive online steel and metal superstore, so if you’re looking for products for your next project, we’ve got you covered. We cut and supply steel and metal – in a wide range of shapes, sizes and grades – for all your project needs.

Read more steel articles to find out more about the steel industry, customer projects and product resources.