Sustainability in Custom Metal Fabrication: Using Recycled Materials and Energy-Efficient Practices

Mar 07, 2023    |    Fabrication

Sustainable custom metal fabrication

As the world becomes increasingly conscious of the impact of human activities on the environment, businesses are turning to sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. Custom metal fabrication is no exception, and the industry has made significant strides in recent years towards more sustainable practices.

One of the most significant ways in which custom metal fabrication can be made more sustainable is through the use of recycled materials. By using recycled metals instead of virgin materials, companies can reduce the energy and resources required to extract and refine raw materials, as well as reduce waste and pollution. Recycled metals are just as strong and durable as virgin metals and can be used in a wide range of applications, from automotive parts to building materials.

Another way to make custom metal fabrication more sustainable is through the use of energy-efficient practices. This can include using energy-efficient equipment and processes, as well as implementing measures to reduce energy consumption, such as optimizing production schedules and reducing idle time. By reducing energy consumption, businesses can not only reduce their carbon footprint but also save on energy costs and improve their bottom line.

In addition to using recycled materials and energy-efficient practices, there are other ways in which custom metal fabrication can contribute to sustainability. For example, some companies are implementing closed-loop systems, where materials are reused and recycled within the production process, reducing waste, and minimising the need for new materials. Others are investing in sustainable packaging and shipping practices, such as using reusable containers and reducing packaging materials.

The benefits of sustainable metal fabrication

The benefits of sustainability in custom metal fabrication go beyond environmental considerations. By implementing sustainable practices, businesses can improve their reputation and attract customers who are increasingly looking for environmentally responsible products and services. Sustainable practices can also help businesses reduce costs and improve their efficiency, making them more competitive in the marketplace.

These are five key benefits of sustainable metal fabrication:

  1. Reduced environmental impact: Sustainable metal fabrication practices reduce the environmental impact of production, including greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste generation. This helps to conserve natural resources and minimise damage to ecosystems.
  2. Lower costs: Implementing sustainable practices can reduce production costs over the long term by reducing energy consumption, minimising waste, and improving efficiency.
  3. Enhanced brand image: Companies that prioritise sustainability can improve their brand image by demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility. This can attract environmentally conscious customers and investors and improve the company’s reputation.
  4. Compliance with regulations: Many countries and regions have regulations in place to promote sustainable practices and reduce environmental impact. By implementing sustainable metal fabrication practices, companies can ensure compliance with these regulations and avoid potential fines or penalties.
  5. Improved supply chain management: Sustainable metal fabrication practices can also improve supply chain management by promoting transparency and accountability in the supply chain. This can help companies to identify and address potential environmental risks and promote sustainable practices throughout their operations.

Sustainable metal fabrication FAQs

As one of New Zealand’s leading custom metal fabricators, we often get asked questions about sustainable metal fabrication. Here are some of those most frequently asked questions:

Is metal fabrication sustainable?

Metal fabrication can be made sustainable through the implementation of various practices that reduce its environmental impact. For instance, using recycled metals instead of virgin materials can significantly reduce the amount of energy required for extracting and refining raw materials, while also reducing waste and pollution. Additionally, energy-efficient practices can be used to minimise energy consumption during production, and closed-loop systems can be implemented to reduce waste and minimise the need for new materials.

In recent years, many metal fabrication companies have been implementing sustainable practices in their operations, including using sustainable materials and reducing their carbon footprint. There is also an increasing trend towards the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to power manufacturing facilities.

However, it’s worth noting that metal fabrication still requires a considerable amount of energy and resources to produce the necessary components and products. So, while it can be made more sustainable through various measures, it still has some environmental impact. Overall, the sustainability of metal fabrication largely depends on the specific practices and measures implemented by each company, and their commitment to reducing their environmental impact.

What is the most eco-friendly metal?

When it comes to determining the most eco-friendly metal, there are a few factors to consider, including the abundance of the metal in the earth’s crust, the environmental impact of mining and refining the metal, and the potential for recycling and reuse.

In general, aluminium is often considered one of the most eco-friendly metals due to its abundance in the earth’s crust, ease of recycling, and relatively low energy required for production. Aluminium is also lightweight, making it a popular choice for products that require high strength while minimising weight, such as aircraft and automobiles.

Another metal that is often considered eco-friendly is copper. Copper is a highly recyclable metal, and its reuse is highly valued in the industry due to its scarcity. It is also a highly durable metal that is often used in long-lasting products such as electrical wires and piping.

Other eco-friendly metals include tin, zinc, and lead. These metals have a low environmental impact in their production and can be easily recycled.

However, it’s worth noting that the eco-friendliness of a metal depends on several factors, including the specific production processes and the conditions under which the metal is extracted, refined, and recycled. Therefore, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of each metal in its entirety, including the entire production cycle, from extraction to end-of-life disposal.

What type of steel is the most sustainable?

Steel is a highly versatile and widely used material in many industries, including construction, automotive, and manufacturing. However, the environmental impact of steel production can vary widely depending on the specific type of steel.

In terms of sustainability, there are several types of steel that are considered more eco-friendly than others. These include:

  1. Recycled steel: Steel made from recycled scrap metal is one of the most sustainable types of steel. Using recycled steel reduces the need for virgin materials, saves energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Low-carbon steel: Low-carbon steel, also known as mild steel, is a type of steel that contains less carbon than other types of steel. This results in lower greenhouse gas emissions during production, making it a more sustainable option.
  3. Cor-Ten steel: Cor-Ten steel, also known as weathering steel, is a type of steel that is designed to develop a protective layer of rust over time. This layer helps to protect the steel from corrosion and eliminates the need for coatings, which can be harmful to the environment.
  4. Stainless steel: Stainless steel is a highly durable and long-lasting material that is resistant to corrosion and requires little maintenance. It can be recycled and reused, making it a more sustainable option.

Overall, the most sustainable type of steel depends on the specific application and production process. However, by using recycled steel, low-carbon steel, Cor-Ten steel, or stainless steel, companies can significantly reduce their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.


In conclusion, sustainability is a critical consideration in custom metal fabrication. By using recycled materials and energy-efficient practices, businesses can reduce their impact on the environment and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Sustainable practices can also help businesses improve their bottom line and attract customers who value environmentally responsible products and services. As the world continues to grapple with environmental challenges, sustainable custom metal fabrication practices will play an increasingly important role in creating a more sustainable future.

You can read more about our sustainability practices at SRS Group.