Why steel is the perfect material for sustainability
Aussie farmers need materials that will last through harsh conditions and hard times. When you’re running a farm, there’s no time to worry about rebuilding or replacing farm structures or parts. For those in rural Australia, it is crucial to get materials that last, so you aren’t waiting on deliveries when you need to do fundamental maintenance. Plus, sometimes you just get that season where the last thing you need is more unnecessary costs thrown your way.
Steel is the one material farmers have relied on for years for durability, longevity and strength, since steel is one of the most sustainable materials around. While Aussie farmers benefit themselves from the use of sturdy steel, the environment also benefits in ways sometimes not even considered. So, what makes steel so sustainable? Here’s just a few reasons why the material is number one for sustainability.
Steel is infinitely recyclable
Ever thought about where your steel came from? Once steel is made, it can be used forever as steel. The waste produced by steel is reusable, and there is no loss of quality when recycling, meaning recycled steel is as good as new. Each year, more steel is recycled than paper, plastic, aluminium, and glass combined in the US. The magnetic properties of steel allow it to be easily separated from other materials, so most steel scrap can be recovered from demolitions or projects where scrap is mixed together. This means any steel produced will last the distance and be infinitely recycled, so the steel you use on your farm has likely had a whole other past life in another structure, product or even another farm.
Using steel is not wasteful
Since steel can continuously be recycled, it means it does not end up in landfill. Materials like wood can only be used limited times before they end up in landfill or incinerated, but steel can be constantly remade into new steel. Steel can be recreated in any shape or form, meaning that no steel goes to waste in projects, since steel can be crafted into the exact specifications needed for the job. In comparison, materials like wood require off-cutting pieces, leaving unusable pieces behind, which often end up as waste. So, you can be proud knowing the steel on your farm won’t just add to a growing dump pile, but can be turned into the next best steel cattle yard or shed for future farmers.
A little goes a long way
Since steel is so strong, it doesn’t take a large amount of the material to support structures in buildings and other construction projects. To put it into perspective, to frame a 2000 square feet house would require around 40 trees using wood, compared to the steel of just six recycled cars. The high strength-to-weight ratio of steel allows steel to provide the same benefits as other materials, but with lighter foundations and structures, due to the lower density and weight of steel. So, you can save money and space on your farm by getting more strength with less material.
It lasts the distance
While other materials are easily prone to damage, steel has an unmatched resilience and strength. Steel does not rot, split, crack, warp, or combust like other materials like timber. Due to its resilience, steel can withstand extreme conditions and disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires, more so than any other materials can. The fact that steel lasts means there is no need for always recreating the material from scratch, meaning less frequent impact on the environment. Steel’s unmatched toughness also means farmers have a long-lasting investment when building with steel, so the focus can be on farming, not maintaining sheds or cattle yards.
It is important us Aussies take care of our home and do our part to protect it. Steel provides countless benefits to our society and farms, and it will continue to provide these benefits long into the future, due to its recyclable nature, durability and longevity. Creating something that does not deplete in quality and can be reused and recycled for future generations describes sustainability perfectly and is exactly what busy farmers need. Steel is certainly a material to be relied on by farmers in moving forward to a sustainable future.