Steel Recycling

Closing the Loop

Closing the loop is what recycling is all about. It means purchasing products made out of recycled materials. Did you know up to 40% of a steel can is made out of recycled materials.

Hawkesbury City Council recently conducted an audit of recycling bins in our Local Government Area. We found participation rates in steel can recycling were very low. Are you aware steel cans can be placed into your recycling bin? This means baked bean cans, dog and cat food cans, fruit cans and even paint tins.

Australians currently recycle 40% of all their steel cans. The other 60% of the cans you use are needlessly ending up in landfill- that means more than 1.2 billion cans are still being thrown away nationally every year.

Its always interesting to know what happens to products after they have been placed in your recycling bin. This brochure focuses on the life cycle of steel cans.

How Steel is Recycled???

It is simple really. Your recycling is taken to a MRF- Materials Recovery Facility. At the MRF recycling is sorted into different types of recyclables.

Steel is collected with a magnet and pushed into a baling line where the cans are compacted together.

You can often see dog and cat food cans crushed into the bale. It is then taken to the steel works where the tin coating used to protect against corrosion is removed before the steel is reused. The tin is resmelted back into ingots to make more tin plate.

Cans are added to the steel making furnace where they are remelted into new steel products such as refrigerators, trains, ships, car doors, bridges and cans.

How Steel is made?

In steel making, the first step is to make cast iron by heating a mixture of coke, iron ore and limestone in a furnace.

Steel is made in a second furnace. In this process, the molten cast iron is mixed with some scrap steel, and heated to about 1,700C

The molten steel is cast into ingots or large blocks called slabs ready to be made into steel products.

Recycling Tips

In steel making, the first step is to make cast iron by heating a mixture of coke, iron ore and limestone in a furnace.

Steel is made in a second furnace. In this process, the molten cast iron is mixed with some scrap steel, and heated to about 1,700C

The molten steel is cast into ingots or large blocks called slabs ready to be made into steel products.

All about Steel Can Recycling

In Australia, the average person recycles about seven kilograms of steel cans every year.

Steel cans make up 2-4% of the household waste.

Recycling steel from unwanted steel products only uses 25% of the energy compared to producing steel from the raw iron ore and coal, an energy saving of 75%.

Steel cans contain as much as 25-40% recycled materials.

Steel is the most commonly recycled metal in the world.

2.5 million tonnes of steel is recycled every year in Australia.

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