Zinc and Sustainable Development

Increasingly the zinc industry is being asked to provide information to downstream users of zinc and zinc containing products on the environmental footprint of the materials it produces. Material specifiers and product engineers in key end use markets, such as building, construction and transportation, are more and more interested in selecting materials that have the best environmental profile while meeting traditional cost, quality and technical performance criteria.

Understanding the environmental footprint of zinc starts with documenting the resource requirements and environmental releases associated with upstream metal production operations, but it also involves understanding the impacts and the benefits of using zinc during other stages in the product life cycle.  These benefits can arise in use (e.g. extending the life of steel products) and through end-of-life recycling (e.g. by utilizing recycled zinc to create new products).

The zinc industry understands that environment and sustainability programs are integral to the future of the zinc industry and is committed to contributing scientifically sound facts in response to societal concerns and market trends.

Case Studies

  • The Whole Picture:  Life Cycle Assessment Recognizes the Green Benefits of Zinc

    The Whole Picture:  Life Cycle Assessment Recognizes the Green Benefits of Zinc

    Zinc manufacturers have long touted the environmental attributes of zinc, but sustainability leaders, like the Washington D.C. - based US Green Building Council, have been slow to recognize the metal's value as one of the few building materials that can be recycled indefinatly without loss of physical or chemical properties.

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  • Marina in Switzerland after 38 years

    Marina in Switzerland after 38 years

    Hot dip galvanizing can provide long-term, maintenance-free corrosion protection in even the harshest of environments. An example of this is the marina and port installations at Arbon and Bottighofen in Switzerland. These two small towns are idyllically situated on the Southern shore of Lake Constance and are very popular with water sports enthusiasts.

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  • The Bridge of Sustainability

    The Bridge of Sustainability

    For years, children in a Chinese community divided by the River Po – a tributary of the Yellow River – had to cross the river on a precarious single-log bridge: built on pillars of straw, rock and earth. Among the many accidents, a mother and child were swept to their deaths on the journey to the school on the other side of the waterway from their homes.

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  • Snowdon Visitors Center

    Snowdon Visitors Center

    At 1,085 metres, this unique visitor centre is one of the highest building in the UK, responding to one of the most extreme climatic locations: the mountain endures facing winds of 120mph, temperatures that can go below -200C and 5 m of rain every year. The list of special design considerations for this unique project is endless - life cycle costs, building life, sustainable development and complex design considerations.

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