Stainless steel refrigerator doors open showing food inside

Is Stainless Steel Recyclable?

Have you ever wondered if stainless steel is recyclable? Spoiler alert – it is and that’s good for you and the earth’s natural resources. It’s a metal that is readily found in a variety of household and commercial settings, from countertops and roofs to refrigerators and food blenders. At Sgt. Scrap, serving New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and a wide surrounding area, we’re dedicated to responsibly recycling the metals we buy. Here, we’ll discuss which common machinery and appliances contain stainless steel and why it’s important to recycle.

What Is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is created when iron and carbon are industrially combined with a lesser amount of an alloy metal, such as chromium, manganese, nickel, or others. Though the alloy additions are relatively small, they play an important anti-oxidizing role. This gives stainless steel its shine and rust-resistant qualities.

Stainless Steel in Your Home and Around Town

Stainless steel is everywhere – just look around your home. You can see that it forms parts of water bottles, kitchen knives, ovens, and shower heads. Its versatility and durability make it compatible to use in major infrastructures, such as airport roofing systems, bridges, and public sewage systems. Its dent- and temperature-resistance qualities make it an excellent option for constructing industrial laboratories, power plants, and ships. Not only is stainless steel strong and rust-resistant, but it’s also easy to clean and aesthetically attractive, making it highly desirable to use in the home and manufacturing industries.

Positive Impacts of Stainless-Steel Recycling

Stainless-steel recycling can have several positive impacts. Global carbon emissions are reduced, energy is saved, landfills conserve space, and communities are spared from additional mining. Here are some details about the positive impacts of stainless-steel recycling:

Reducing Carbon Emissions

The World Steel Association concludes that 1.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions are avoided for each metric ton of recycled scrap used in steel production. That’s a big deal, considering production accounts for approximately 8% of United States carbon emissions, which is a major contributor to climate change.

Less Energy for Mining

When 1 metric ton of scrap metal is recycled into steel, some 1.4 metric tons of iron ore, 740 kg of coal, and 120 kg of limestone are left in the ground un-mined. Not only does this reduce the amount of carbon emissions and pollutants in the air, but it saves the energy needed to excavate and prepare these rocks and metals in the production of new steel.

Community Impact

Reducing the need to mine for ores and resources can also have a positive outcome on communities closest to the excavation fields. This is because not only can mining cause health damage to humans, but it can negatively disrupt existing community social structures, traditions, and economies, as well as create land disputes and conflicts.

Saved Landfill Space

Another positive effect of recycling stainless steel is that it cuts down on the amount of material in landfills. According to Stanford University, recycling 1 ton of steel saves as much as 4 cubic yards of space in landfills. That may not seem like a sizeable amount, but that can certainly add up over time. By minimizing the size of landfills, less additional land is needed to accommodate the world’s refuse.

Common Uses for Recycled Stainless Steel

Luckily, stainless steel is 100% recyclable and has a long product life. Many objects made from stainless steel are used for up to 20 years, and others for well over 100 years. At present, most global stainless steel is recycled. Not only is it versatile and durable, but its component parts are, too. Products made from recycled stainless steel are every bit as useful and long-lasting as those made from “new” or virgin metal.

Once it’s recycled, over half of the original material is used to make new material. Recycled stainless steel can once again be used to make major home appliances, such as washers and dryers. Scrap stainless steel can also be recycled to create kitchen knives and utensils, building frames, and airplanes.

Sgt. Scrap is an integral part of the continual life cycle of stainless steel, and we’re dedicated to the positive effects of recycling a wide array of metals. The list of metals we buy and recycle includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Aluminum (not aluminum cans)
  • Alloy
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Aluminum wire
  • Steel

Additionally, we’re experts in appliance recycling and can pay you for the stainless-steel components of your old refrigerators, stoves, and other major appliances. Sgt. Scrap makes recycling metals easy and worthwhile. We can pick up your scraps and drop-off is available at our scrap yard locations. We serve people in New Jersey, Delaware, and parts of Pennsylvania and New York. Contact us with any stainless-steel and metal-recycling questions.

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