Most of us have come across stainless steel nails and other products made from this material. What few of us know is how important these products are to overall recycling efforts. 100% of stainless steel can be recycled, and anything made from the material is likely to have already been used before. In fact, on average, 60% of the stainless steel in any nail, tube, or other piece that you can come across is likely to have a previous life.
Stainless Steel Nails Have Been Around for 100 Years
It has been 105 years since stainless steel was invented, which means that the nail in your furniture or that cooker in your kitchen could have been around during World War I! Since it was discovered, 18 other metals were discovered as well. Stainless steel is a lot of things, therefore, but it certainly isn’t new. We love it for its impervious, elegant, durable, lustrous, and shiny properties. One of the reasons for this is that it fits perfectly in with our 21st century culture.
The 21st century world is a disposable one. Everything is created to be used and thrown away. Mobile phones are update every year, televisions last about four years, tents are used once at a festival and then abandoned, and so on. There are even people who simply purchase new socks in packs once a week, instead of washing them.
Of course, nothing truly lasts forever, but we seemed to have stopped trying to make things last at all. We measure our attention span in seconds, in fact. This is one of the reasons why there is a character limit on Tweets (there used to be one on Facebook posts as well). The phrase “here today, gone tomorrow” is perhaps the best descriptive for the modern world.
Mother Earth, meanwhile, is dying as a result. All these things we throw away may not have lasted in our household, they last on the planet. There are landfill sites the size of skyscrapers, sea animals dying because they get trapped in plastic, and we are running out of resources. So how do stainless steel nails and other such products fit in with all of this?
Stainless Steel and Recycling
Recycling is never ending. Whenever we throw something away, it can be recycled into something else again. Anything can be recycled, but most things don’t last very long. Stainless steel, by contrast, is used for quite a substantial amount of time before it is melted back down and recycled again. Now that more and more companies and even entire countries are starting to ban plastic, stainless steel is becoming increasingly important. That cooker you have in your kitchen is likely to last you for many years, after which it can be turned into something else again – even a new cooker. And because stainless steel is so durable, it looks like it is also the one thing that won’t get thrown away in our throw away society.