The steel lifecycle
Steel can be recycled time and time again, without loss of quality. Here's what happens when you recycle a steel can.
Buy a can of fizzy drink or baked beans from the supermarket. Up to 50% of the can is made up of recycled steel. You can only drink or eat the contents of the can once but, by recycling the can, we can use the same steel again and again. Steel in Europe contains 56% recycled steel and is 100% recyclable.
Rinse the can and take it to your local can recycling bank or put it out in the recycling box for collection. And you can recycle more than just your food and drinks cans. Try putting all your steel packaging containers out for recycling, including hairspray and deodorant containers, jam jar lids and biscuit tins.
Your steel containers are magnetic and therefore easily separated from the other recyclables when they go to the recycling centre for sorting. All the different types of steel packaging are then crushed and baled, and transported to the steel plant.
In the steel plant, the bales are put into the furnace with other recyclable steel. Molten iron is added and oxygen is blasted into the furnace which heats up to around 1700DegC.
The molten steel, which includes your can, is formed into big slabs which are then rolled into coils. Afterwards, these coils are used for all sorts of steel products.
Now your food or drink can could end up in one of thousands of steel products such as bikes, cars, bridges, paper clips or even another food or drink can.
The steel recycling loop
Help to protect the environment by buying products packed in steel, and by recycling the packaging afterwards. Keep steel in the loop.