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Stainless steel products are designed for a long life - typically several decades. Indeed, this is often the reason for selecting stainless steel in the first place. However, there will come a time when the product has reached the end of its useful life: by fashion change (the product still functions well but the design is out-dated e.g. shops, restaurants and other buildings); by technological redundancy (e.g. the product is replaced by a more efficient technology); by product failure (e.g. some part of the equipment fails because of eventual corrosion).
The most important corrosion consideration with stainless steels is pitting. Micro pitting is manifested as surface rust staining and is generally considered unacceptable for a material basically selected for its aesthetic appearance and corrosion resistance.
Today, where environmental issues are so important in saving and preserving our world, stainless steel can emerge as an excellent recyclable material. “Did you know stainless steel is 100% recyclable?” Stainless steel is theoretically 100% recyclability and its long term life makes it an ideal environmental performer much better than many other materials. Stainless steel products are designed to have a long life; often spanning over several decades. This long term life generally is the reason for choosing stainless steel in the first place.