Steel cans in a crusher

Steel cans ready to crush

  • Steel is the most recycled metal in the UK and the world
  • Steel was first used to can food in the early 19th century in France to preserve food for Napoleon’s army
  • Food cans are usually steel – if it looks like a bean can it is almost always steel
  • Drinks cans can be either aluminium or steel – some canning operations have two sets of machinery side by side and switch between aluminium and steel depending on the current prices of the two metals
  • Sorting steel works well on automated recycling operations because it’s the only common metal that’s magnetic so it’s easy for machines to separate it from other waste.
  • Most cars include recycled steel
  • Crushed and baled steel isn’t worth as much as aluminium. Prices for both change all the time but generally steel brings in a quarter of the price of aluminium
  • Steel is an alloy which means it is made by combining several substances – the main ones are iron and carbon
  • Indian metal workers in 400BC were the first to produce steel
  • Today China is the world’s biggest producer of steel