The sustainability of any material is measured in relation to three core factors – social development, environmental protection and economic development – or People, Planet and Profit.
There needs to be a balance between these three components in order for each one to exist sustainably – no point having a people-oriented commercial fishing business that follows environmentally sound operational practices if there’s no longer an ocean to fish in.
A sustainable product causes no harm to either the people producing it or the people using it at any stage of its lifecycle, be it original use, recycling or final disposal. Stainless steel more than meets this mandate. Because of the inclusion of chromium during its manufacture, a protective layer forms naturally on all forms of stainless steel. This not only protects the metal itself, helping to guard against corrosion and contributing to its legendary longevity, it also means it remains inert, and therefore harmless to anyone using it. This is one of the reasons why it’s so popular for catering and medical equipment.
Stainless steel has a long life expectancy, low maintenance requirements and can be repeatedly re-used and recycled without any loss of quality or function. It is very easy to recycle, and new stainless steel is often made up of at least 60% recycled stainless steel. The metal has a high intrinsic value thanks to its raw material composition, so it is frequently collected and recycled without any significant economic incentives. Taking into account its recyclability, reusability, long life, low maintenance needs and product safety, emissions from the production and use of stainless steel is minimal compared to any other alternative material, meaning its impact on the planet is one of the lowest of all industrial materials.
Stainless steel’s intrinsic longevity, resistance to corrosion and low maintenance requirements make it a value for money proposition for consumer durables, such as domestic appliances) as well as capital goods applications, such as chemical and process applications, and transport. The metal’s attractive mechanical properties – fire and corrosion resistance, for example - make it the economical choice for civil projects such as road and railway tunnels, and bridges.
Steelmor has been a leading stockist and manufacturer of stainless steel products in South Africa for over 40 years and will continue to champion the use of this sexy, sustainable product. If you’re looking to make your next project more sustainable, Contact us today.