In order to understand the impact galvanizing has on the environment, it will be important to understand how the galvanizing process works, and how it relates to the environment in a positive or negative way. More and more people around the world are looking for green solutions for the environment, and quite frankly all processes will need to be looked at to determine whether they are environmentally friendly or not. Galvanizing is one of those areas that have been looked at, and some interesting results - with regards to the environment - have been discovered.
How the galvanizing process works
The galvanizing process is used to add a thin layer of metal to an existing piece of steel. This is a process of electro-disposition which in most cases uses a zinc or copper by-product to accomplish. There are several methods of galvanizing, and some employ an electrochemical disposition, HDG or Hot Dip Galvanizing. Each process is done to make steel last longer in the outside environment where it will otherwise have the potential to rust.
This is probably the most effective form of galvanizing. At this point, it will be important to understand that almost all the materials that are used for this process will be used over and over again. Which leads to the next important aspect of this article, and that will be the type of impact these processes will have on the environment.
The environmental impact
Energy is used in order to help these processes along; however, the energy that is used in this case is natural gas. The amount of energy needed is very little and most plants that use these processes are working to become extremely energy efficient. The galvanizing industry understands the importance of saving the environment and because of this - steps have already been taken to set realistic goals to become more efficient at making and developing future products.
Water usage, emissions, and recycling
Most of the galvanizing plants today reuse their water supplies and simply replenish them as needed. All emissions are managed by current industry standards and on a plant to plant basis. The manufacturers that exist today are bound by emission limits and as a result are working with environmental agencies to develop better ways to manage these areas in the future.
Most of the products that are used in the galvanizing process are recycled, which means they are used over and over again. Some of the chemicals used such as the fluxes or Hydrochloric acid are recycled and used in other products.
It's important to understand that although these processes use environmental resources, the processes are becoming extremely regulated which is good news for the environment. But even with the current regulations that have to deal with processes, energy usage, emissions, recycling, and water, new systems are being developed in order to make these processes more energy efficient. In turn these systems will leave very little impact on the environment in the future, if they leave any impact at all.