The steelmaking industry is an energy-intensive process with a long process chain. The drive towards reusing and recycling in this industry and making it more ‘green’ is gaining ground with some exciting advances.
Traditionally the responsibility of waste management has fallen to a few officials who do their best to oversee the processes and ensure compliance. However, if the industry is going to have less impact on the environment then it falls to each part of the process chain to do their bit, and each person in that organisation to do theirs.
The simple act of recycling scrap metal can reduce air pollution by 86% as well as reducing the need for landfill sites and saving energy in the long run.
The metal industry as a whole has been exploring waste management systems on a more granular level, trying to work with the variety of waste products produced during processing and manufacture.
Waste Management Options
Technology can be applied in the various stages of processing to extract the waste for reuse in other processes.
In fact, there is a growing trend towards viewing waste as a by-product and treating it as another income stream. This provides opportunities for forward-thinking people to create a business within these existing processes, buying the ‘waste’ and processing it or repurposing it elsewhere.
Let’s take a few examples of how eco-friendly technology can be applied to waste, turning it into an income-generating by-product.
- Coal dust can be recycled with coke dust by adding them to the sinter charge mix.
- Iron-rich dust in sinter making can be recycled back to sinter making or blended with iron ore fines for recycling.
- Dust and undersized pellets can be recycled back into the pellet feed material.
- Dust and burden screening from the blast furnace can be reused in sinter making.
- Blast furnace slag can be separated, and the iron can be sold for re-melting.
- Plate and runner jam from pig casting can be sold as iron scrap.
- Lime sludge from pig casting can be used for neutralising.
There are a great many excellent ideas and simple solutions to the way waste has traditionally been managed, and it the responsibility of each of us to do our part in reducing metal waste in our space.