Pacific Steel, New Zealand’s only reinforcing steel manufacturer, is the primary user of recycled scrap metal in New Zealand, converting more than 280,000 tonnes every year into reinforcing elements for the construction industry. This equates to approximately 265,000m3 of saved landfill space. Every year some 90,000 car bodies that would otherwise have been left to rust away, polluting the environment, are recycled.
The carbon in end-of-life tyres is also utilised by Pacific Steel. Carbon is an important ingredient in steel making, and the opportunity exists to substitute carbon from pulverised coal with tyre-derived carbon. Historically, end-of-life tyres end up in landfills or littering the landscape. Therefore, by using the carbon in about 3000 tonnes of tyres annually, Pacific Steel’s steel-making process is helping to eliminate a problematic source of waste.
Water, air, energy and storm-water controls are also in place at Pacific Steel. It is interesting to note that the Stubbles Report, an independent body of work commissioned jointly by Fletcher Building and the New Zealand Climate Change Office, recognises that Pacific Steel’s operation converts scrap metal to reinforcing products as efficiently as any similar international mill.
These recycling initiatives and environmental controls not only reduce waste, but the local production also eradicates the CO2 emissions that would arise from importing reinforcing steel into New Zealand. Pacific Steel’s operation is an example of the potential synergies between manufacturing industries and the sustainable use of natural and physical resources.