For example, steel manufacturing is a significant contributor to worldwide carbon emissions. On average, for 2018, 1.85 tonnes of carbon were emitted for every tonne of steel produced. The steel industry generates between 7 and 9% of direct emissions from the global use of fossil fuel.
The extraction of raw materials can also result in a wide range of environmental issues, including threatening biodiversity and ecosystems in adjacent areas, erosion in coastal and riverbanks, or pollution of waterways. Local impacts may include noise and dust pollution, and landscape damage.
Steel manufacturing processes can result in the emission of significant amounts of pollutants, including dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter. High levels of nitrogen dioxide, for example, are harmful to vegetation – damaging foliage, decreasing growth or reducing crop yields. Nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide can also react with substances in the atmosphere to form acid rain. PCBs are a group of harmful, persistent organic pollutants that are toxic, persist in the environment and animals and bioaccumulate through the food chain.
Toxic heavy metals and their compounds such as mercury, arsenic, selenium, cobalt, tin and antimony are also detrimental to the health of manufacturing staff and users of the finished product. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are also present in the coatings of many products. They can trigger allergic reactions, headaches, eye irritation, and asthma problems.
GECA certification removes doubt and confusion and makes identifying environmentally and socially preferable products easier. Products certified under this standard can also contribute toward achieving credit points for projects being certified under the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star Performance tool. In addition, our standard is also recognised by the ISCA IS rating scheme.
The standard sets requirements that aim to provide a benefit by:
• requiring that virgin mined and quarried raw materials must come from operations with environmental management plans
• restricting carbon emissions
• ensuring manufacturers using post‐consumer scrap must implement procedures to exclude feedstocks containing undesirable materials
• requiring that off-gases must be captured to the maximum extent practicable and directed to a treatment system to control particulate matter
• limiting emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
• preventing the use of specific hazardous materials and toxic heavy metals such as known carcinogens and mutagens
• ensuring workers and suppliers through the supply chain can expect fair pay, equal opportunity, and a safe working environment
The following steel products are covered by this standard:
Slabs, plates, hot rolled coil plates, cold rolled coil, billets, structural beams and columns, hollow pipes, rolled hollow sections, flat angles and channels, reinforcement bars, hot rolled coil round bar, steel wire, rails, galvanised steel products, coated steel products, assembled steel products.
Green Star is Australia's trusted mark of quality for the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings, fitouts and communities. Choosing Green Star can help you save money, create a healthy place for people, minimise your environmental footprint and build a better future for us all.
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