This week marks the fifteenth anniversary of America Recycles Day, an annual event initiated by the Keep America Beautiful program. A nation-wide event, America Recycles Day serves to remind us all to do our part to save natural resources. The day is dedicated to helping communities raise awareness of the positive effectiveness of recycling on our environment.
Recycling steel helps the environment.
All metals are eagerly sought by recycling centers, but steel is especially coveted. Steel can be recycled over and over and over again. That’s because steel retains its strength characteristics throughout endless recycling. Paper, plastic, and wood become more fragile with each recycling.
In fact, steel is the most recycle material on the planet! Eighty million tons of steel are recycled every year just in North America. (The Steel Recycling Institute has a cool counter on its web site that computes the amount of material steel, paper, aluminum, and plastic, being recycled second by second.)
Steel cans, for example, are recycled at an average rate of 19 billion per year— about 600 cans every second, according to the Green Team. It’s estimated that the average American family disposes of 61 pounds of steel and other metal food and beverage containers every month. The America Recycles Day web site states that producing cans from recycled material saves 67% of the energy needed to produce them from raw materials.
The recycling-conscious person also buys products based on recycled content.
That’s one of the reasons we are so proud of the high-quality prefabricated metal buildings in our RHINO Steel Building System. Our framing systems contain a high amount of recycled content.
Our structures are factory-engineered to optimize the maximum benefits of the strength of steel, so an extremely strong structure is possible while still using far fewer framing pieces than conventionally built wood structures. Our columns are generally placed 20’ to 25’ apart, rather than the 16” to 24” typical placement of wood studs. Since everything is cut to length, shaped, welded, and drilled at the factory, there’s little to no waste at the job site. If there is any steel left at the end of construction, it can be sold to a scrap dealer for recycling. There’s no need for steel to take up in a landfill space with other construction debris.
Consider the lifecycle of the recycled material.
Wood builders will tell you that wood is “renewable.” To a certain extent, that’s true. Wood can be renewed by planting more trees. But can it be renewed fast enough to meet demand? Even fast-growing species of wood take decades to mature. Stronger hardwoods require an even longer growth period. A Douglas Fir typically needs 100 years or more years to reach only a foot-and-a half in diameter. But it only takes two man-hours or less to produce a ton of steel.
Long-term environmental factors should also be considered when choosing a building product. Is it energy efficient? Will it last well? Is it recyclable at the end of its lifecycle?
RHINO’s prefab steel buildings, with the proper insulation package, can save 40%-50% on energy costs. Metal buildings retain their beauty and value for decades. When the building has outlived its usefulness, the steel can be recycled again into steel cans, major appliances, automobiles, ships, trains— or another long-lasting metal building!
Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
Make your own commitment to increase your recycling efforts, both at home and on the job. You’ll find some great ideas at the Recycle America Day web site.
And consider building your next aviation, agricultural, commercial, manufacturing, storage, or warehouse project with the most recycled building material available today, with an eco-friendly prefab metal building kit from RHINO Steel Building Systems.
Join the green building movement today by calling RHINO Steel Building Systems to discuss your building needs.