Can You Recycle Steel?

Let’s take a fun dive into the wonderful world of recycling steel.

Since the late 1800s, the construction industry has used steel for the frames of buildings. Where previously, construction may have used iron, steel quickly supplanted it as a more versatile design material that’s less susceptible to degradation.

Steel is used to build modern steel frame structures, as you’d typically see in contemporary home builds, balconies, verandas and even some ladders.

This heavy reliance on steel inevitably leads to waste, due to activities like demolition, home upgrades, etc.

So, what can you do about your excess, or waste steel?

Let’s explore your options…

steel pipes for recycling

What is steel?

Steel is a metal alloy of carbon and iron, a combination that enhances the metal’s strength and durability.

Steel comes in 4 different forms:

  1. Carbon steel
  2. Stainless
  3. Alloy
  4. Tool

Carbon steel is incredibly strong, so it’s frequently used in the production of rail, high-tension wires, fridges, washing machines and axles.

Stainless steel is used for our everyday cutlery, cookware and more.

Alloy steel is a mixture of nickel, copper and aluminium. This mixture makes it a tougher metal that is more resistant to corrosion. You’ll find it in girders, rods, wires and more.

Tool steel is used in shaping other objects, like cutting, pressing and extruding.

steel structures made from carbon steel

But what about steel waste, can it be recycled?

Let’s dive in…

Can steel be recycled?

The dominating element of steel is iron and any metal that is made of or comprised of iron is considered a ‘ferrous’ metal.

Ferrous metals can be recycled which helps reduce waste in landfill and enables steel to become a more sustainable and eco-friendlier product with a lower carbon footprint.

If you’re in Victoria, the State actively encourages residents to recycle scrap metal, especially ferrous metals like steel. We strongly recommend you recycle any scrap ferrous metals as not doing so would be extremely wasteful. The material has a life well beyond single-use and metals are a finite resource that is non-renewable.

The best way to recycle your steel is to take it to a scrap metal yard who can recycle it safely.

A scrap metal yard recycling steel

How is steel recycled?

Once collected, steel is recycled through a process that involves shredding or shearing to introduce as a feedstock to steel mills where it is melted, recasting and redrawing the individual metals. Even on galvanised steel, the zinc coating is collected and recycled for reuse as part of the steel recycling process.

But where can you recycle your excess steel?

Where can I drop my steel for recycling?

The best way to recycle your metal is to take it to a scrap metal yard. At Norstar we accept ferrous metals for recycling.

You can find out more about our ferrous metal recycling, including the types of scrap metal we’ll accept here.

Final Words

Steel is an integral material for the building industry, and beyond. It’s a material that has become essential to modern society and as a finite resource we need to ensure scrap steel is recycled and put back in the system for reuse.

As a ferrous metal that is comprised of iron, scrap metal yards have the ability to recycle it and you’re encouraged to do so to continue to keep this material sustainable.

Find a scrap yard in your area that will accept your excess, or waste ferrous metal.


What is steel?

Steel is a metal alloy of carbon and iron, a combination that enhances the metal’s strength and durability.

Can steel be recycled?

Yes, it’s a ferrous metal and ferrous metals are not only recyclable, but you’re actively encouraged to recycle them. To not recycle this type of scrap metal would be very wasteful.

How is steel recycled?

It’s a ferrous metal and can be remelted, recast and redrawn as the individual metals.

Written by Norstar