Why Is Steel Shot Dust Hard to Recycle?

Long thought to be unrecyclable, steel shot dust is getting an innovative second life.

Finding the right partner to recycle your steel shot dust is getting easier with specialty recyclers like Wisdom Environmental who have developed innovative products designed to give a second life to shot dust waste streams.

Landfill disposal and traditional recycling methods for steel shot dust are challenging for many reasons:

1. Contamination:  Steel shot dust can be contaminated with other materials, such as oils, paints, or other metal particles, making it difficult and hazardous to recycle without extensive cleaning processes. 

2. Particle Size:  Steel shot dust consists of very fine particles, which can be difficult to separate from contaminants or to process efficiently in recycling facilities. For these reasons, bulk recyclers frequently don’t accept shot dust for recycling.

3. Chemical Composition:  Depending on the specific steel shot used, the dust may contain additives or coatings that complicate the recycling process. For example, coatings used to prevent rust or improve performance may need to be removed before general recycling.

4. Energy Intensity:  Recycling steel shot dust often requires significant energy input for processes such as melting and purification, making it less economically viable compared to recycling larger pieces of steel.

5. Volume and Collection: Collecting and handling small amounts of steel shot dust from various sources can be logistically challenging and may not always justify the costs involved in recycling.

Efforts are being made to develop more efficient recycling techniques for steel shot dust, including advanced separation methods and technologies to treat contaminated materials.

Wisdom Environmental is the country’s leading recycler of steel shot dust because we look at this material through a different lens, as an ingredient used in the production of our SteelCrete bin blocks and landscaping hardscape products. For more information on how to partner with Widsom, visit our Shot Dust Recycling and Wisdom SteelCrete pages. 

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