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Answering Some Questions About Buying Eco-Friendly Steel for Manufacturing Processes

by Kyle Marshall

If you have a manufacturing facility of any sort and need steel for those processes, you may be concerned about how to get the best material for your production without overspending, while still making an eco-friendly choice. If you've never purchased steel before, you have many options for the material, and some of these may be more environmentally friendly than others, so note a few questions you might first ask. This will ensure you get the best choice for your needs while doing what you can to save the environment.

Is recycled steel a safe and durable choice?

Because of the nature of steel, it can be recycled, fabricated and reworked many times without losing its overall integrity and strength. Steel is not like wood that may splinter and chip from being cut and that absorbs moisture and then expands and shrinks over time; steel holds its strength no matter how it's manufactured and used. Recycled steel may be melted and welded, but this heat only causes it to soften so it can be fabricated; once the steel cools and hardens, its integrity is the same as new steel.

That being said, note that steel can rust over time and suffer other damage through use. Recycled steel will usually have different grades according to how it was used and any damage it may have suffered, meaning pits and pockmarks. Grade 1 steel will be without any pits, marks or other visible damage. Grade 2 steel will have suffered more oxidation and may have some pits, pockmarks, rust and other such damage. These may be removed before the steel is used for manufacturing.

As long as you understand the differences in these grades and are sure to look for such surface damage, recycled steel can be a good choice for your application. This can mean saving money on the cost of new steel and keeping old steel out of landfills.

What is slag?

Slag refers to the waste produced when steel is manufactured; it's not just steel shavings but also syrupy liquid that is part of the residue from the heat needed to manufacture steel. This slag can be collected and recycled or reused, which is why you may want to choose your steel from a manufacturer that is known to collect this slag. The compound can be mixed with other materials and used for road manufacturing and similar applications. Choosing your steel from a company that collects and reuses slag in this way will mean less waste that winds up in landfills and other such locations.