Stainless steel items are all around us today in varying sizes and styles. The international stainless steel industry is also one of the biggest in the world.

This is not a surprise given the ready availability of stainless steel and its relative affordability compared with other precious metals.

With something that gets used this much, though, what happens when the stainless steel item exceeds its service life? Is stainless steel recyclable at all?

Stainless steel is the most recyclable metal on earth, keeping the metal sustainable and environmentally focused. Up to 85% of all the stainless steel types are recyclable, which includes the stainless steel that we find in the homes, offices and generally around us.

But that's not all you have to know about recycling stainless steel. Read on to find out more fun stuff.

 

Can stainless steel go in the recycling bin?

Recycling stainless steel can take several approaches, one of which is via the recycling bin. We will talk about other ways to dispose of stainless steel (and even earn some change on it) in a moment.

Before that, though, some communities provide a special bin for recyclable items. In this case, you can put any stainless steel object that has completed its lifespan into the appropriate bin.

We say 'appropriate' because, in some areas, there could be a separation between the other materials to be recycled.

Thus, a different bin for stainless steel, another for glass and others for other recyclable items.

So, how can you earn on a recycled stainless steel item?

If you have a local scrap shop or manufacturer that uses stainless steel, you can approach them to sell end-of-life products to them. These refer to your air conditioning system, refrigerators, car parts and other materials made of stainless steel.

Instead of just throwing these items to the dump, you can salvage some money off them, give the company raw materials for their next project, save iron ore exploitation and get paid while at it.

Of course, don't expect some life-changing money this way. Unless maybe you're recycling the stainless steel on a cruise ship made entirely of the material.

Just kidding.

Still, selling old scrap like this gives these companies a cost-effective way to generate needed manufacturing materials – and they will be happy to pay you for it.

 

What stainless steel products can be recycled?

Stainless steel is one of the most used metals globally, but it is not an element on its own.

Rather, it is an alloy that consists mainly of iron ore and could be mixed with molybdenum, nickel, carbon and other substances, depending on the nature of construction it is to be used for.

Thus, there is a lot of stainless steel out there, and they cannot all be recycled.

The good news is that most (if not all) of the stainless steel items that you'll find around you can be recycled. They were either made from the sustainable material itself or are recycled material from other stainless steel that had passed their useful life in the past.

So, this puts the following items on the list of stainless steel for recycling:

  • Cutlery – forks and spoons
  • Knives
  • Pots and pans
  • Refrigerators
  • Air conditioning systems
  • Countertops
  • Ceiling and standing fans
  • Stainless steel slabs
  • Car parts
  • Boat parts
  • Tubes
  • Plates, etc.

If you have any material that has stainless steel in it, there is a high chance that it can be recycled.

 

Is stainless steel environmentally friendly?

The fact that you can recycle any material does not mean that the process is good for the environment.

So, when we recycle stainless steel, what does that do for the environment?

For starters, stainless steel is made via multiple stages. Since they are alloys, it stands to reason that the mined iron ore still has to be combined with other substances (molybdenum, nickel, carbon, etc.), tested for chromium content and the likes.

The energy needed to complete that process is way more than what would be expended for recycling.

Now, here's the best part:

Stainless steel is one of those substances that can be recycled yet keep 100% of its strength, durability, construction suitability and other desired features. In other words, it doesn't suffer any degradation, so any production with stainless steel scrap is not inferior.

The recycling process generates less pollution, saves energy and is more cost-effective for manufacturers.

This explains why metal is the most recycled material – and also shows you that stainless steel is as environmentally friendly as they come.

 

How Nordgreen approaches recycling stainless steel

The "green" suffix in our brand name is not just by chance.

We are committed to promoting a healthier environment and the principle of sustainability.

This is evident in choosing to go with the 316L hypoallergenic stainless steel on all our watches.

Many of our customers know that this stainless steel is nickel-safe and, as such, reduces their chances of suffering an allergic reaction when wearing the watch.

What you might not know yet is that 316L stainless steel is 100% recyclable too. Thus, we can always use recycled stainless steel materials in our watch constriction without contributing unnecessary pollution to the environment.

Besides the fact that every watch purchased is linked to a donation in our Giving Back program, you also ultimately give back to the environment when you choose Nordgreen.

 

Recycle your stainless steel scrap today

Stainless steel recycling is a no-hassle project that helps you play a part in waste management and better environmental health.

Once your stainless steel materials have reached the end of their long life, it is time to send them to the scrap yard. The approximate recycled content that can be obtained from your donation alone might be small, but it contributes to the larger pool of global stainless steel demand.

You can start by looking for waste collection agencies that will come around to look at your stainless steel scrap and pay you for it. You can also reach out to local manufacturers who use stainless steel and ask them if they will take your scrap.

Whether with rust or no rust, they don't mind. After all, the rust melts away with the rest of the stainless steel during the recycling process.

If possible, engage your friends and acquaintances on the environmental and social benefits of subscribing to stainless steel recycling today. It's not like you will use those old items for anything, anyway, so why not make them a source of useful materials for decades to come?

Start today – and the environment will thank you for reducing your carbon footprint, improving production with stainless steel and reducing waste lying around.

10 December, 2021 by Karina Kasparova

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