Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust with an estimated 2 – 3 billion tonnes of identified world zinc resources. While it is not the most abundant metal, there is no short supply of it. Large reserves have been identified in the United States, Canada, Australia and Iran.
Because zinc is abundant in soil, the trace amounts of zinc runoff from roofing and siding materials will not be enough to significantly affect the amount of zinc in the surrounding soil.
Zinc is non-ferrous so it does not form rust when it oxidizes. Instead, the zinc reacts with oxygen to form hydroxyl-carbonate. This layer of material protects the zinc from the surrounding environment.
Zinc is a very soft, malleable metal with excellent seismic properties making it an great building material in earthquake proofing a project.
The hydroxyl-carbonate layer that forms on the outside of the zinc material protects it from harmful reactions.
The protective layer of hydroxyl-carbonate can reform through the natural oxidization process of the zinc. Any shallow scratches through this layer will be filled in over time. This natural coat allows zinc panels to last approximately three times longer than other metal materials that require an artificial protective layer that doesn’t reform.
Zinc costs very little energy to produce, requires very little maintenance and is 100% recyclable. It can be collected and recycled without loss of quality and today more than 95% of zinc products used in buildings are collected at end-of-life. Zinc coated telegraph poles installed in the Australian outback in the 19th century are still in good shape today.