There is often confusion between the terms ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘environmentally sustainable’.
‘Environmentally friendly’ means anything that is not harmful to the environment while ‘environmentally sustainable’ means something that can be maintained without further depletion of natural resources. Sustainability is the practice of interacting with the planet responsibly to avoid depleting natural resources and compromising the future generation’s ability to meet their daily needs.
Stainless steel ticks both boxes. It is environmentally friendly and environmentally sustainable as it is corrosion resistant and durable; it has high-recycled content and recapture rates and provides a long service life that reduces resource use.
According to the World Steel Association, steel is the world’s most recyclable material. Stainless steel building systems and profiles can be harvested and recycled to be used over and over again. The result is significant savings on energy costs and emissions in the manufacturing of new products.
Stainless steel is 100% recyclable into the same product with no reduction in quality. The metal’s high scrap value and recyclability ensures that it is diverted from landfills and recaptured for use in new stainless steel. The Specialty Steel Industry of North America has indicated that the average recycled content of 300 series stainless steel grades that are used in the architecture, building and construction market is between 75% to 85%.
Specifiers are increasingly aware that sustainable materials should not only meet the intended design life requirements but should also be recaptured at the end-of life (EOL) and either reused or recycled into new high-quality products. In the industrial equipment and the building and infrastructure segments, 92% of stainless steel is captured at the EOL for use in new stainless or carbon steel.
Stainless steel is the product of choice for many industrial and commercial manufacturing processes such as water treatment, wine production, brewing, dairy, edible oil, pharmaceuticals, and chemical manufacture.
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 any product in contact with the stainless steel.
Clean in Place (CIP) systems for stainless steel in the industrial and food and beverage industries in particular also are likely to use less water, energy and harmful chemicals, coatings or processes, than most other material surfaces.
The lifespan benefits of the correct use of stainless steel in the production setting also negates any need for costly & environmentally harmful refurbishment works to be conducted on a factory’s assets, as practices such sandblasting or coating with plastics or paints to maintain suitability or efficiency of the asset is not required.
Stainless Steel is the preferred material for green buildings throughout the world. Its impact on the environment is minimal when compared to other materials.
Because stainless steel has such an impressive lifespan, steel construction systems are well suited for projects that require resistance to natural forces such as high winds and moisture. Stainless is especially durable in that it has anti-corrosive properties and will not succumb to rust, corrosive sea air or exposure to pollutants. It should also be noted that stainless steel is more fire-resistant than other metal building components. Also, the long-span capability of stainless steel allows for the use of large windows and curtain wall systems that allow for nearly limitless expanses of natural daylight to filter into a space.
Stainless steel is also a sustainable choice for interior building surface applications because it produces no VOC emissions. This makes it ideal for buildings where control of the interior air quality is critical, such as museums, laboratories, archives, and medical facilities.
In use, stainless steel is durable and requires a minimum of maintenance and is widely used for transit systems, public buildings, public restrooms and kitchens where a high level of scratch and impact resistance and excellent clean-ability are required. Cleaning stainless steel requires no chemical cleaners or solvents, and stainless steel eliminates the requirement for additional potentially hazardous materials such as paint and other protective coatings.
Stainless steel’s role in resource conservation is not limited to recycling and EOL recapture, as it plays an important role in the production of alternative energy equipment and the generation of solar, biomass to energy, nuclear, geothermal, and wave power.
The high Solar Reflective Index (SRI) value of most bare stainless steel surfaces is high enough to reflect away and dissipate heat so that air conditioning requirements are reduced when it is used for high slope roofing, wall and sunscreen panels. Furthermore, this performance is not reliant on a coating that must be re-applied, and the finish will not deteriorate over time if an appropriate corrosion resistant stainless steel is selected.
Founded in 1963, A&G Engineering is an Australian, family-owned company that has grown from humble beginnings to become Australia’s leading designer and fabricator of stainless-steel tanks and vessels. A&G has an outstanding reputation in the winery and brewery markets, as well as throughout the dairy, water treatment and petrochemical industries.
A&G is now a major business supporting communities in regional Australia, employing 160 people across manufacturing facilities in Griffith (NSW), Mildura (VIC), Angaston (SA), and dedicated retail facilities in Melbourne, Griffith & Mildura.
A&G Stainless Steel offers fabricators, manufacturers and engineers the largest range and availability of stainless steel pipe, tube, sheet, fittings and flanges for industrial applications such as fluid transfer systems.
Ready to find out how A&G can help you? Talk to our expert team by calling us on (02) 6964 3422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiry. We look forward to hearing from you.
- Australian Stainless Steel Development Association
- Australian Steel Institute
- British Stainless Steel Association
- Specialty Steel Industry of North America