steel bridge

The Wonderful World of Steel – Identifying & Recycling

At Consolidated Resources, Inc., we believe it’s important to educate our current and future customers about the materials they can recycle. Many business owners aren’t aware of the financial & environmental benefits of recycling their metal scrap. In this article we offer a brief introduction to the various grades and common types of steel, one of the many materials CRI processes.  

There are over 3,500 different grades of steel according to the World Steel Association.  Each grade has its own individual chemical and unique physical qualities.  By appearance alone, it can be tough to differentiate numerous types of steel.  Grading systems are used to distinguish steels based on their specific properties.

Common Grades of Recyclable Steel

The four basic grades are:

  • Mild Steel – used in pipe and steel framing 0.05% to 0.3% carbon

  • Medium Carbon Steel – forging and vehicle parts 0.3% to 0.6 % carbon

  • High-Carbon Steel – springs and wire 0.6% to 1% carbon

  • Tool Steel – cutting and drilling tools 1% – 2% carbon

The surface of steel must be protected, galvanized, or painted as it can easily rust. One common recognizable steel item is a galvanized trash can.  With ten percent or more chromium added to prevent rust, stainless steel, which is a carbon steel, can be used to hold hot liquids and food items.  It’s very prevalent within restaurant kitchens including countertops, silverware, and pots and pans.  Popular for its corrosion resistance, it’s about 200 times more resistant to corrosion than mild steel.

Carbon steel is widely used within the construction industry and can be used to make bridges, pipelines, and skyscrapers.  The inexpensive price point makes it easier to be the main component of such large projects.  Carbon steels account for 90% of total steel production.

Alloying elements which can be silicon, nickel, copper, and aluminum make up some of the internal components of alloy steels.  You can find alloy steels within auto parts, electric motors, rails, construction equipment, and wires.

Tool steels are often used in cutting and drilling equipment. They consist of cobalt, tungsten, molybdenum, and vanadium in shifting quantities, depending on needed staying power and heat resistance.

For more information about identifying different types of steel, visit these resources:

At Consolidated Resources, Inc., we strive to provide the very best industrial recycling solutions to Arizona businesses. If your business has any of the grades of steel described in this article or other scrap metals that can be recycled, give us a call at (623) 931-5009. Our goal is to increase the value of your scrap metal. We look forward to discussing your waste stream needs!