Aside from the fact that buildings and bridges would crumble in an instant, the absence of steel in society would have a tremendous effect on worldwide sustainability and economics. Check out reasons three and four in our blog series for even more steel-centrality evidence.
3. The world economy would suffer
Crude steel production reached 1.4 billion tons worldwide in 2010 according to the World Steel Association—a new record for global steel production. What does this say for economies of the world? Growth. Since the Industrial Revolution, socioeconomic and cultural progress has grown tremendously. This is notably attributed to improvements in the production of steel. The supply of cheaper iron and steel during the Industrial Revolution promoted the development of boilers, steam engines, machine tools and railways, ultimately shaping the economies of today. It is estimated that 95 countries are producing steel today, as steel is a flagship industry, and governments see the steel industry as a vital part of a country’s economic structure. The industry is such an asset to a variety of countries, because steel is one of the world’s most necessary industrial products, with large amounts needed in a vast array of manufacturing and construction sectors. Steels are by far the most widely-used metallic materials worldwide, so a thriving steel industry points to a thriving economy. In the United States alone, the steel industry employs more than 160,000 skilled workers producing more than $60 billion a year in steel and specialty alloy products.
4. Landfills would bury us alive
Steel is the most recycled material on the planet, as more steel is recycled each year than paper, aluminum, plastic and glass combined. According to the Steel Recycling Institute of North America, the recycling rate of steel has reached well over 80 percent. This recycled steel is then used in creating new steel products, contributing to low production costs and minimal amounts of energy needed in manufacture. If other materials were required to take the place of steel, the world would be overcome with waste as recycling rates would be radically lower.
The recyclability and international importance of steel production makes steel even more imperative on this planet.
Keep a look out for our final blog post, concluding the eminence of the world’s most-used alloy.
To read part 1, click here.