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LCA End-of-Life Phase

The final phase of the LCA is the end-of-life. As highlighted before, both steel and zinc are 100% recyclable without the loss of any properties. Products/materials recycled at the end-of-life receive an energy credit in LCA, as recycling cuts down or eliminates waste, and conserves energy and natural resources (virgin material) by being reused. When a structure constructed with hot-dip galvanized steel is demolished, the galvanized material is captured and sent to a steel mill for recycling. While in the electric arc furnace (EAF), the zinc is captured as zinc-rich EAF dust and can be reused in the zinc production process. The molten scrap steel is then ready to be cast into new steel shapes (Figure 1).

Figure 1: End of LIfe Recycling

The primary component of the hot-dip galvanized product, the steel, contributes the majority of the end-of-life credit (below). The same credit for the steel is provided whether it is painted or galvanized. However, the zinc of the HDG coating is also 100% recyclable, while the paint coating becomes a permanent part of the waste stream, or is burned off as emissions.

End-of-Life Primary Energy Demand (PED)
1 kg of HDG Steel -8.61 MJ