Sustainable business at Corus
A Corus case study

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Page 3: Why sustainability is important

Corus is the largest steel recycler in the UK. Corus Steel Packaging Recycling promotes the recovery of used steel packaging to:

  • consumers
  • local authorities, waste management companies and collectors
  • businesses and its customers.

Steel is unrivalled as a sustainable packaging material for a number of reasons:

  • Steel is derived from two of the earth's most plentiful natural resources iron ore and limestone.
  • Steel can be recycled time and time again without any loss of quality.
  • Steel is easy to extract from the waste stream using kerbside collections, can banks
  • and magnetic extraction.
  • Steel scrap will be recycled and re-used to make new steel products.

Environmental benefits

Recycling steel has major environmental benefits. By recycling steel, Corus can:

  • help preserve natural resources
  • help protect the environment
  • meet government targets for reducing waste the longer-term target for recycling steel packaging is 55% by 2010.

Steel is the most recycled packaging material in Europe. All steel packaging is 100% recyclable. European steel currently contains at least 54% recycled steel.

Levels of recycling

Corus is working hard to make the public aware that all steel packaging can and should be recycled. Research undertaken by Corus in partnership with ASDA in 2005 demonstrated this point. The people questioned showed a relatively high knowledge about what steel packaging products could be recycled.

However, when questioned about which of these products they actively recycled, the results were different. It is clear that there is still work to be done to increase consumer awareness of the wide range of steel packaging that can be recycled.

Corus wants to make the public aware how steel packaging can be re-used through a closed loop 'steel to steel' recycling process. Consumers play a key part in this continuous loop process.

If they recycle the steel products they buy in the first part of the loop, these enter the production chain in the second part. So the steel travels from the consumer, to the recycling box, then to the recycling facility. The steel is then transformed at the steel reprocessor and shipped back to manufacturers ready for re-use as new products. This creates a continual cycle of steel re-use which can happen many times.

Corus | Sustainable business at Corus