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Steel is one of the most important and heavily used products in the world. It has been made and used for thousands of years, and continues to be one of the most durable and useful building materials. Nearly every person in the world uses something made of steel. So, keeping that in mind, here are five reasons everyone should be thankful for steel.

It Makes Vehicles and Skyscrapers Possible

Steel has been used in the automotive industry since the first vehicles were developed. The product is used today to provide safety cages that help save lives in accidents and is also seen throughout vehicles as safety buckles or locks. Steel alloys are being developed that will make cars and trucks lighter in weight for better fuel efficiency, without any reduction in safety and durability.

Skyscrapers also rely on the strength of steel to keep them solid and in place. Without these tall buildings, cities would not be able to exist today. Businesses and apartments would need to be spread out further and the entire landscape of many places in the world would look totally different.

Steel is the Reason Steel Drums Exist

The steel drum, or pan, has been a vital instrument for playing Caribbean music for over 100 years. This may seem to be something that only the people of Trinidad, where the instrument was created, should be thankful for. Yet, this instrument is familiar to many around the world. Jimmy Buffet and the Beach Boys used the sound to give their music a tropical feeling, and the background music to Disney’s The Little Mermaid would be lost without these unique percussion instruments.

It Enables Surgeons to Do Their Jobs

Surgical tools, everything from scissors and scalpels, to many of the devices implanted in the body come from a high-grade surgical stainless steel. This alloy is specially made to be hypoallergenic and easy to sterilize. Of course it is more than the devices and tools that are made of steel in an operating room. The table the patient is on, the carts that hold all the supplies and most of the equipment that makes all of the work possible, are either made primarily or partially from steel.

It Keeps Hands Cleaner

Where would civilized society be without silverware? Granted, wood or plastic could be used to get food from the plate to the mouth, but plastic forks banging on a wine glass will never be loud enough to draw attention for a toast, and cutting a steak with a plastic knife seems a little unlikely. Granted, some silverware is made of genuine silver, but since most people do not live in a palace, steel is the most used metal for these utensils.

Steel is Endlessly Recyclable

Recycling matters because it reduces air and water pollution and prevents landfills from filling up as quickly. Steel has been at the forefront of the recycling movement because it is a product that can be recycled endlessly without any reduction in its strength or quality. Approximately 80 million tons of steel is recycled in the United States every year. So much has been through this process that all “new” steel being purchased today has already been recycled.

Steel is without question an amazing material that has helped to make modern life possible. It has been so commonly seen and used for so many centuries that it is easy to take it for granted. However, had it not been discovered, it is easy to imagine that many inventions, like forks and cars among others, would not exist in their current form today.