Environmental Awareness & Galvanized Steel

October 8, 2020 by Big Bend Author

Environment and Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel is long-lasting steel. Galvanizing protects steel from rust and corrosion for 50, 75, 100 years and more.

Galvanized steel has a growing share of the market for steel. Millions of tons of steel are galvanized every year. And that’s a good thing for the environment. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.

Using Natural Gas for Generating Heat Reduces the Production of Air Pollution

Galvanizers in the United States heat their galvanizing vats with natural gas. Natural gas is produced in the US. It doesn’t have to be transported from the other side of the world. It doesn’t become a goal in international conflicts. And natural gas has significant environmental advantages over oil and fuel oil for melting metals.

Natural gas burns clean. Burning natural gas releases only tiny amounts of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides. (SOx). There is never any ash to clean up after burning natural gas. Heating with natural gas releases only minuscule amounts of particulate matter. And burning natural gas releases smaller amounts of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and other reactive hydrocarbons.

Galvanized Steel is Completely Recyclable

In pristine, rural settings, galvanized steel will not begin to corrode for 100 years or more. Fabricated galvanized steel may be torn down to make room for growth long before they have to be replaced because rust caused structural failure. But when galvanized steel reaches the end of its useful life, it is almost completely recyclable.

About 90 percent of all the recycled steel in the world is galvanized steel. Recycling galvanized steel also produces about 80 percent of the world’s recycled zinc.

Galvanized steel is recycled in an electric arc furnace. The possibility of using an electric arc furnace means that galvanized steel can be recycled using renewable energy.

It isn’t just the steel in galvanized steel that is recycled. When galvanized steel is recycled, the zinc coating is not lost. Zinc becomes volatile before iron is melted. Zinc dust can be captured and recycled separately to be reused in the galvanizing process in a later project. About 15 percent of the zinc used in galvanizing steel comes from recycling operations, and small amounts of zinc dust are used to make products as diverse as the white zinc-based sunblocks you sometimes see on noses at the beach to electronics components and rubber additives.

Even dross (iron-zinc alloys that settle to the bottom of the vat) can be recycled into galvanizing zinc when the amount of iron in the mixture is not critical to the process.

Galvanizing Does Not Add to Water Pollution

Galvanizing uses less water than other kinds of steel production. It is very rare for waste water to be discharged from a galvanizing plant, meaning that galvanizing does not contribute to water pollution in streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Protecting the Environment by Making Steel Last 

There is no better way to reduce CO2 emissions, air pollution, water pollution, and energy use in the manufacturing of steel than by not having to manufacture new steel. Galvanized steel holds up to daily use for decades so new steel doesn’t have to be made as quickly.

How Long can Galvanized Steel Last?

Instead of crumbling into rust, galvanized steel produces a beautiful patina that can grace a landscape for years and years. How many years?

  • Galvanized steel in an industrial environment is expected to last 72 to 73 years. Examples of an industrial environment include Newark, Atlanta, and Houston.
  • Galvanized steel in a tropical marine environment is expected to last 75 to 78 years. Examples of a tropical marine environment include Miami and Mazatlan.
  • Galvanized steel in a temperate marine environment is expected to last 86 years. Examples of temperate marine environments are Seattle and Charleston, South Carolina.

Galvanized steel is the superior choice in steel for protecting the environment now and for decades into the future. 

Do You Have Galvanizing Needs? 

We are ready to provide everything you need for galvanized steel. Our central location allows us to serve the entire United States as the premier provider of hot dip galvanizing services. If you are in need of a galvanizing plant in your area, contact us to see how we can help.



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