As well as making buildings perform better in terms of waste and energy, the materials they are constructed from could be made from recycled materials.
According to Australian innovator Professor Veena Sahajwalla, steelmakers have a largely untapped opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to solving the world’s growing waste problem while cutting their own production costs.
Working with Arrium Ltd (formerly OneSteel), Professor Sahajwalla, the plants in Sydney and Melbourne have transformed 1.6 million waste tyres into new steel.
As well as waste tyres, steel makers could potentially absorb large-scale agricultural residue and various plastics, according to new research conducted by the University of New South Wales.
“I am not suggesting we burn waste for energy,” Professor Sahajwalla said.
“What I am proposing is that we leverage high temperatures to literally re-form waste materials into resources… steelmakers can play a leading role in globally significant, large scale recycling, without making fundamental changes to the way we manufacture steel.”
She said the impetus for steel makers to innovate had never been greater because of raw materials getting more expensive, competitive pricing pressures across the world and environmental considerations with waste continually increasing. .
Professor Sahajwalla said construction of steel needed to change and this was a perfect opportunity.