In 1960, only 50 tons of ferrous metals were recycled in the US. Nearly 60 years later, that total exceeds 6,000 tons per year. The ratio of landfilled material is also decreasing. With technological advances and more awareness of the human impact on the environment, Steel 21 strives to increase the amount of recycled materials.
The steel industry as we know it now is still relatively young. In fact, steel artifacts have been discovered in East Africa that date back to 1400 BC, proving that steel has been made for centuries. Chemically and technically, steel is an alloy made from two or more elements, where iron is always one of those elements.
In order to combine those elements, extreme heat is required. Temperatures need to exceed 1,370 degrees Celsius, and throughout the years there have been different methods in reaching those temperatures, as well as different methods to create the alloys.
The modern method of steelmaking is typically done through a process known as oxygen steelmaking. This involves molten iron being poured into a container and then transferred to a furnace, where it is then mixed with steel scrap materials. The steel and iron are mixed as pure oxygen is blown into the mixture, raising the temperature and burning off carbon.
Just as the process to create steel has changed, the method of recycling metals has also evolved. Some historians have suggested that the early Romans recycled old bronze coins by having them melted and repurposed, often as statues.
Before mass production, people had to be more resourceful. In pre-industrial Europe, scrap bronze and scrap aluminum were collected and melted down for reuse. Then during the war effort of World War II, the shortage of raw materials meant that recycling wasn’t just encouraged, but it was necessary.
Thanks to our patented 21 Micro Mill process, Steel 21 has eliminated sludge and other hazardous byproducts, leaving clean chips that are 100 percent recyclable. Because of this, our steel chips can be melted down into certified steel plates, which helps to preserve our environment and the steel industry for years to come.
For more information on how Steel 21 can help serve your industry, call us today at (616) 884-2121. You can also send us your design and receive a quote. Once your quote becomes an order, we will provide whatever you require for your stamping die or plastic injection mold.