Steel Mains owns environmental responsibility

Steel Main’s SINTAKOTE® steel pipe system has received an environmental product declaration, edging the company closer to its end goal of reducing emissions.

According to Ben Twigg, Steel Mains’ Environment and Sustainability Lead, there is a rigorous verification process that goes into acquiring an environmental product declaration (EPD), especially for a product associated with a hard to offset industry like steel manufacturing.

“We performed a full lifecycle assessment of the SINTAKOTE pipe,”Twigg said. “Every step of the way, from basic raw materials, supplies required for manufacturing, all waste outputs, up to the decommissioning stage.”

Steel Mains spent the whole of 2020 recording and tabulating every truckload of product, tonne of waste and kilogram of steel to form the basis of the EPD.

Twigg said the process was not as simple as submitting the eventual document for approval. Instead, EPD Australasia would take the information provided, and return with a list of changes or amendments required by the operation in order to meet the EPD criteria.

He said that pursuing the EPD is a strong signifier of the intention of Steel Mains, but that it also reflects how councils and businesses are making asset related decisions.

“We really want to take accountability for any emissions and any wastes involved in making our products,” he said. “Ultimately, this process clearly indicates the impacts of current operations, and shows us what we need to do to reduce our emissions.”

Not only is it the right thing to do, but Twigg says that reducing emissions is the only way that companies like Steel Mains are going to be able to stay competitive.

“The direction the industry is moving – towards emissions reductions – is obvious,” he said. “It’s about getting ahead and making sure that we’re not only serving customer’s needs now but can continue to do so over the next 10, 15 or even 50 years.”

Having started with raw data, putting in the work to contextualise it to have the product acknowledged in an EPD has galvanised Steel Mains in terms of the direction the company wants to go.

As Australia’s major supplier of mild steel cement lined (MSCL) pipes, Steel Mains’ proven interest in reducing emissions and supporting a circular economy in the industry has the potential to impact other elements of the industry – from manufacturing to transport.

SINTAKOTE steel pipe is designed to support any water-based media across a variety of industries, including potable water, wastewater and stormwater, but also slurry from industrial operators.

Steel Mains’ pipe system is shielded by SINTAKOTE Corrosion Protection Coating, comprised of a medium density polyethylene, fusion-bonded directly to the steel pipe and fittings.

Features of the coating include:

  • Excellent adhesion
  • High impact and load resistance
  • Excellent chemical resistance
  • High dielectric strength
  • High electrical resistivity
  • Low water absorption
  • Resistance to soil stresses
  • Service temperature range with temperatures from -40 to 70 °C having no detrimental effect.

An important part of reducing the environmental impact of pipe systems is the recyclability of the materials. Recycling steel consumes 75 per cent less energy than the production of steel from raw materials.

SINTAKOTE steel pipes are made from 17.4 per cent recycled material, which, combined with the long service life, results in a sustainable and robust product.

“Getting the EPD has been really important for us. Having all the data together, and understanding our impact, has helped us understand how we are able to influence the wider pipeline industry,” Twigg said.

This article featured in the March edition of The Australian Pipeliner. 

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