Although cast iron has been in use for centuries and was the material of choice that helped to mould the industrial revolution, it has recently seen a massive rebirth with regard to its environmental impact and sustainability. Now, a million miles away from the dirt and grime of 19th century industrialism it’s now seen in a whole new different light. So just how does something so old and heavy as cast iron, be classed as eco-friendly?
Extremely Long Lasting
One of the main points about cast iron is that it isn’t prone to rusting, at least not in the traditional sense. It has a slow oxidisation level which means that the product is exceptionally long lasting. Even if you wanted to recycle it, cast iron can be recycled numerous times without losing any of its properties. Therefore it is about as sustainable as you can get.
Gives off Iron Particles
When cast iron does start to oxidise it gives off small particles or iron ashes. These are carbon based and are surprisingly good for the environment. These carbon based particles help to increase the levels of plankton in our oceans and is what helps to make all our plants green. In fact, studies have shown that by adding carbon based particles to our oceans, this will help to increase oxygen levels and therefore reduce greenhouse gasses.
The Casting Process
Going back to the industrial revolution the entire casting process was considered, hot, smelly, tiring and above all dangerous work. Nowadays technology has advanced and companies who care about the environment use the most efficient electric resistance furnaces, coupled with fully regulated gas fired furnaces, to ensure effective and environmentally friendly methods that make up the whole smelting process. It isn’t just the processes inside the factory that are carefully controlled. Companies that promote environmentally friendly iron castings also pay close attention to the levels of pollution outside of the factory by regularly monitoring the air quality in the atmosphere.
Completing the Recycling Process
Alongside fully approved ingots, an environmentally friendly casting plant will see that all waste products from previously made castings are re-smelted where possible thus insuring near or full recycle-ability. If there is any accumulating dross after this process then the company will look to get it taken away and this is then refined into pure zinc oxides or aluminium, which can then be re-used in a wide variety of industries. Therefore the life cycle is complete.
Eating Breathing and Seeping an Eco-friendly Way of Life
Companies that are truly eco-friendly have to eat, sleep and breathe it, and make it a part of everything that they do. As a result, companies will listen to their customer base and take on board any special requirements that they have. For example, they may look at minimising the use of packaging or look into re-usable packaging as a preferred method. Local suppliers may also be used to minimise the global footprint and to aid efficiency.
As you can see, some companies within the iron casting industry have worked hard to transform what was once a grimy and dangerous industry into something that’s truly eco-friendly.