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Metal scrap

APEAL announces 2025 vision for recycling

The 2025 Vision is set to be supported by action in four key areas, identified by the Association as critical in the drive to prevent steel packaging being diverted from recycling and wasted.

Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, said: “The four key areas of action will include a focus on optimising separate waste collection, establishing a scrap quality standard, the collection and sorting of steel closures, and designing for recyclability.
“As APEAL’s recycling report published in 2018 illustrates, separate collection is the best way of guaranteeing high-quality input into recycling operations. It was therefore encouraging to see this highlighted in the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0 report adopted by the European Parliament last 9th February.

“Establishing a scrap quality standard is equally important. Crucially, to maintain quality in the steel for packaging scrap value chain, quality control must start when the material is at the sorting facility. This can only be achieved by establishing a quality standard for packaging steel scrap.”

Whilst an average of 82,5% of all steel packaging is currently recycled across Europe, the collection and sorting of steel closures in Europe is estimated to be below-average, with steel closures regularly put in the wrong waste bin (and often in the residual waste bin) by citizens.

Mr Van Maercke continued: “Improving the recycling rate of steel closures will make a significant contribution in the drive towards zero steel packaging to landfill. But there is currently a lack of clear sorting instructions and low awareness among citizens. At the same time ineffective sorting techniques in a number of facilities result in collected steel closures being lost and not recycled.”

APEAL also believes designing for recyclability will underpin the successful implementation of all these measures, helping to ensure that every product placed on the market, can be recycled as efficiently as possible.

“Ultimately, steel packaging is a valuable resource which cannot be wasted if we are to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal. APEAL will continue to work with its colleagues, the European Commission, European Parliament, Member States and all stakeholders to realise a shared ambition of a truly circular economy.”

A new APEAL report, ‘Why Steel recycles forever – How to collect, sort & recycle steel for packaging’, designed to help stakeholders throughout the value chain work collaboratively to achieve the 2025 Vision, is set to be published in December 2021.

At the same time, APEAL will reveal a new recycling rate objective in line with the new EU calculation methodology. Applicable for data from 2020, this new methodology moves the calculation point for all members states and all packaging materials, to the entrance of the recycling operation. This means that no impurities can be included and only materials that are really recycled can be included in the measurement process.

Mr Van Maercke added: “Indeed, APEAL will release the 2019 steel recycling rate in May this year. But towards the end of the year we aim to be the first material to release our figures with the new methodology.”

APEAL announces 2025 vision for recycling

The 2025 Vision is set to be supported by action in four key areas, identified by the Association as critical in the drive to prevent steel packaging being diverted from recycling and wasted.

Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, said: “The four key areas of action will include a focus on optimising separate waste collection, establishing a scrap quality standard, the collection and sorting of steel closures, and designing for recyclability.
“As APEAL’s recycling report published in 2018 illustrates, separate collection is the best way of guaranteeing high-quality input into recycling operations. It was therefore encouraging to see this highlighted in the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0 report adopted by the European Parliament last 9th February.

“Establishing a scrap quality standard is equally important. Crucially, to maintain quality in the steel for packaging scrap value chain, quality control must start when the material is at the sorting facility. This can only be achieved by establishing a quality standard for packaging steel scrap.”

Whilst an average of 82,5% of all steel packaging is currently recycled across Europe, the collection and sorting of steel closures in Europe is estimated to be below-average, with steel closures regularly put in the wrong waste bin (and often in the residual waste bin) by citizens.

Mr Van Maercke continued: “Improving the recycling rate of steel closures will make a significant contribution in the drive towards zero steel packaging to landfill. But there is currently a lack of clear sorting instructions and low awareness among citizens. At the same time ineffective sorting techniques in a number of facilities result in collected steel closures being lost and not recycled.”

APEAL also believes designing for recyclability will underpin the successful implementation of all these measures, helping to ensure that every product placed on the market, can be recycled as efficiently as possible.

“Ultimately, steel packaging is a valuable resource which cannot be wasted if we are to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal. APEAL will continue to work with its colleagues, the European Commission, European Parliament, Member States and all stakeholders to realise a shared ambition of a truly circular economy.”

A new APEAL report, ‘Why Steel recycles forever – How to collect, sort & recycle steel for packaging’, designed to help stakeholders throughout the value chain work collaboratively to achieve the 2025 Vision, is set to be published in December 2021.

At the same time, APEAL will reveal a new recycling rate objective in line with the new EU calculation methodology. Applicable for data from 2020, this new methodology moves the calculation point for all members states and all packaging materials, to the entrance of the recycling operation. This means that no impurities can be included and only materials that are really recycled can be included in the measurement process.

Mr Van Maercke added: “Indeed, APEAL will release the 2019 steel recycling rate in May this year. But towards the end of the year we aim to be the first material to release our figures with the new methodology.”

APEAL announces 2025 vision for recycling

The 2025 Vision is set to be supported by action in four key areas, identified by the Association as critical in the drive to prevent steel packaging being diverted from recycling and wasted.

Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, said: “The four key areas of action will include a focus on optimising separate waste collection, establishing a scrap quality standard, the collection and sorting of steel closures, and designing for recyclability.
“As APEAL’s recycling report published in 2018 illustrates, separate collection is the best way of guaranteeing high-quality input into recycling operations. It was therefore encouraging to see this highlighted in the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0 report adopted by the European Parliament last 9th February.

“Establishing a scrap quality standard is equally important. Crucially, to maintain quality in the steel for packaging scrap value chain, quality control must start when the material is at the sorting facility. This can only be achieved by establishing a quality standard for packaging steel scrap.”

Whilst an average of 82,5% of all steel packaging is currently recycled across Europe, the collection and sorting of steel closures in Europe is estimated to be below-average, with steel closures regularly put in the wrong waste bin (and often in the residual waste bin) by citizens.

Mr Van Maercke continued: “Improving the recycling rate of steel closures will make a significant contribution in the drive towards zero steel packaging to landfill. But there is currently a lack of clear sorting instructions and low awareness among citizens. At the same time ineffective sorting techniques in a number of facilities result in collected steel closures being lost and not recycled.”

APEAL also believes designing for recyclability will underpin the successful implementation of all these measures, helping to ensure that every product placed on the market, can be recycled as efficiently as possible.

“Ultimately, steel packaging is a valuable resource which cannot be wasted if we are to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal. APEAL will continue to work with its colleagues, the European Commission, European Parliament, Member States and all stakeholders to realise a shared ambition of a truly circular economy.”

A new APEAL report, ‘Why Steel recycles forever – How to collect, sort & recycle steel for packaging’, designed to help stakeholders throughout the value chain work collaboratively to achieve the 2025 Vision, is set to be published in December 2021.

At the same time, APEAL will reveal a new recycling rate objective in line with the new EU calculation methodology. Applicable for data from 2020, this new methodology moves the calculation point for all members states and all packaging materials, to the entrance of the recycling operation. This means that no impurities can be included and only materials that are really recycled can be included in the measurement process.

Mr Van Maercke added: “Indeed, APEAL will release the 2019 steel recycling rate in May this year. But towards the end of the year we aim to be the first material to release our figures with the new methodology.”

Metals recycling sector launches second apprenticeship

The MRTM Apprenticeship is set to become the new route for technical competence. It is an enhanced learning route for more experienced individuals in the sector such as depot or site managers.

The broad purpose of the role is to manage a commercially viable site in the metal recycling sector, which considers and responds to strict regulations and legislation specific to the sectors operational activity.
MRTM apprentices will learn about the management of day-to-day operations of a site. They will learn to be accountable for all activity, broadly split into the following areas: health and safety; environmental and regulatory impacts; financial responsibility; human resources; operations and logistics; and community relationships.

“With a predicted first cohort of some 20 learners, it is very rewarding to see the metals recycling industry embracing their own level 5 apprenticeship. Alongside the level 2 Metals Recycling General Operative, we really are building a strong career path for employees in the sector,” said Antonia Grey, representative of the British Metals Recycling Association on the Metals Recycling Apprenticeship Trailblazer group.

“A lot of work was put in by the Trailblazer group to develop the MRTM apprenticeship and we are all very proud of what we have achieved, not least the outstanding funding amount of £16,000 to cover the cost of training. While this amount can be drawn down by Apprenticeship Levy payers, the Government will pay 95% of this for SMEs.”

The Trailblazer group comprises representatives from EMR, Recycled Products Ltd, , Recycling Lives, S Norton and Sims Metal Management.

Donna Rogers of Rogers Metal Management has decided to put herself forward for the MRTM apprenticeship.

“The apprenticeship is a great way for me to increase my operational competence while increasing the resilience of our business. It offers a golden opportunity to learn from others with a wealth of experience of the industry – especially in the areas of operations and logistics. Of course, I also want to do it from a personal development; I have an administrative background and wish to build on my practical knowledge of the metals recycling industry,” she says.

“By undertaking the apprenticeship, I hope to achieve greater competence and confidence to efficiently run a site and to be able read the markets and proactively respond to the changing landscape of the global economy.”

Excitingly, the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management will recognise the Metal Recycling Technical Manager for student membership during the apprenticeship and Associate Member level upon completion. The experience gained and responsibility held by the apprentice on completion of the apprenticeship standard will partially satisfy the requirements for Chartered Member. Apprentices will be required to pass an additional interview on successful completion of the apprenticeship standard to lead to Chartered status.

Metals recycling sector launches second apprenticeship

The MRTM Apprenticeship is set to become the new route for technical competence. It is an enhanced learning route for more experienced individuals in the sector such as depot or site managers.

The broad purpose of the role is to manage a commercially viable site in the metal recycling sector, which considers and responds to strict regulations and legislation specific to the sectors operational activity.
MRTM apprentices will learn about the management of day-to-day operations of a site. They will learn to be accountable for all activity, broadly split into the following areas: health and safety; environmental and regulatory impacts; financial responsibility; human resources; operations and logistics; and community relationships.

“With a predicted first cohort of some 20 learners, it is very rewarding to see the metals recycling industry embracing their own level 5 apprenticeship. Alongside the level 2 Metals Recycling General Operative, we really are building a strong career path for employees in the sector,” said Antonia Grey, representative of the British Metals Recycling Association on the Metals Recycling Apprenticeship Trailblazer group.

“A lot of work was put in by the Trailblazer group to develop the MRTM apprenticeship and we are all very proud of what we have achieved, not least the outstanding funding amount of £16,000 to cover the cost of training. While this amount can be drawn down by Apprenticeship Levy payers, the Government will pay 95% of this for SMEs.”

The Trailblazer group comprises representatives from EMR, Recycled Products Ltd, , Recycling Lives, S Norton and Sims Metal Management.

Donna Rogers of Rogers Metal Management has decided to put herself forward for the MRTM apprenticeship.

“The apprenticeship is a great way for me to increase my operational competence while increasing the resilience of our business. It offers a golden opportunity to learn from others with a wealth of experience of the industry – especially in the areas of operations and logistics. Of course, I also want to do it from a personal development; I have an administrative background and wish to build on my practical knowledge of the metals recycling industry,” she says.

“By undertaking the apprenticeship, I hope to achieve greater competence and confidence to efficiently run a site and to be able read the markets and proactively respond to the changing landscape of the global economy.”

Excitingly, the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management will recognise the Metal Recycling Technical Manager for student membership during the apprenticeship and Associate Member level upon completion. The experience gained and responsibility held by the apprentice on completion of the apprenticeship standard will partially satisfy the requirements for Chartered Member. Apprentices will be required to pass an additional interview on successful completion of the apprenticeship standard to lead to Chartered status.

EuRIC: Boosting metal recycling in Europe

Thanks to their intrinsic properties and market value, discarded metals have been recycled for decades and used to produce new ferrous and non-ferrous metals again and again.

Metal recycling is a must to achieve the climate and circular economy targets set by the European Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan. Metals are essential in both products and systems which are essential to a low-carbon economy and everyday products. Compared to primary production, steel, aluminium or copper recycling save respectively 58%, 92% and 65% of CO2 emissions and spare primary raw materials often extracted outside Europe where much lower standards apply.

Despite enormous environmental benefits, substantial bottlenecks keep hampering metal recycling in Europe.

  • The first one has to do with the fact that Europe’s industry remains mostly linear with only 12% of the materials it uses coming from recycling. As a result, in Europe, the supply of metal scrap from recycling meeting industry specifications often exceeds the demand and remain under-utilised in metal production.
  • The second one relates to the fact that commodity prices still fail to internalise the massive environmental benefits of metal recycling. There is in EU legislation no incentive that rewards metal recycling lower-carbon and energy footprint when compared with primary raw materials (often extracted outside Europe).
  • The third one is rooted in European waste legislation which hinders more circularity. Metal scrap is a valuable commodity, with a positive environmental footprint, which should not be classified as waste but as secondary raw materials. In addition, a number of procedures pertaining to cross-border shipments or to permitting remain far too burdensome to incentivize circular metal value chains.

For Cinzia Vezzosi, President of EuRIC, “time has come to lay down a more ambitious strategy to boost metal recycling in Europe and support the entire metal value chain, which is a backbone of any modern economy”.

She stressed in particular the absolute need to set up framework conditions and incentives that steers metal recycling and metal production from secondary raw materials by rewarding their environmental benefits. “This should be one of the priorities of the EU Recovery Plan”.  Taking the example of steel, “it is key to support value chains currently striving to migrate from current blast furnaces which use primary iron ore and coal, to electric arc furnaces which use recycled steel and can use power from renewable sources. Low-carbon impact steel and metals in general are not only vital to achieving climate neutrality, it is also instrumental to compete better in a rapidly changing market”, Vezzosi added.

Of equal importance is the need to simplify legislation applicable to circular value chains. “To create a well-functioning EU market for secondary raw materials, metal scrap meeting industry specifications shall no longer be classified as waste. We need to align legislation which hampers the transition towards a more circular economy with overarching EU policy objectives embedded in the Green Deal otherwise circular frontrunners won’t be able to deliver”, she stressed.

Last but not least, guaranteeing free, fair and sustainable trade is more important than ever. We need to refrain from setting any trade restrictions negatively impacting metal scrap processed to industry specifications which operates on an inherently global market. Forthcoming measures shall focus on better pricing carbon-intense imports to level the playing with low-carbon products made of recycled materials.

Download the Circular Metal Strategy

Global crude steel output decreases by 0.9% in 2020

Asia produced 1,374.9 Mt of of crude steel in 2020, an increase of 1.5% compared to 2019. China’s crude steel production in 2020 reached 1,053.0 Mt, up by 5.2% on 2019. China’s share of global crude steel production increased from 53.3% in 2019 to 56.5% in 2020. India’s crude steel production for 2020 was 99.6 Mt, down by 10.6% on 2019. Japan produced 83.2 Mt in 2020, down 16.2% on 2019. South Korea produced 67.1 Mt, down 6.0% on 2019.

The EU produced 138.8 Mt of crude steel in 2020, a decrease of 11.8% compared to 2019. Germany produced 35.7 Mt of crude steel in 2020, down 10.0% on 2019.

In the CIS, production was 102.0 Mt in 2020, up by 1.5% on 2019. Russia is estimated to have produced 73.4 Mt in 2020, up 2.6% on 2019. Ukraine produced 20.6 Mt in 2020, down 1.1% on 2019.

Crude steel production in North America was 101.1 Mt in 2020, down 15.5% on 2019. The United States produced 72.7 Mt in 2020, down 17.2% on 2019.

The Middle East produced 45.4 Mt of crude steel in 2020, an increase of 2.5% on 2019. Iran is estimated to have produced 29.0 Mt in 2020, up 13.4% on 2019.

Annual crude steel production for South America was 38.2 Mt in 2020, a decrease of 8.4% on 2019. Brazil produced 31.0 Mt in 2020, down by 4.9% compared to 2019.

Turkey’s crude steel production for 2020 was 35.8 Mt, up by 6.0% on 2019.

Africa produced 17.2 Mt of crude steel in 2020, the same as the 2019 production figure.

Oceania produced 6.1 Mt of crude steel in 2020, down 1.4% on 2019.

Top 10 steel-producing countries
Rank Country 2020 (Mt) 2019 (Mt) %2020/2019
1 China 1053.0 1001.3 5.2
2 India 99.6 111.4 -10.6
3 Japan 83.2 99.3 -16.2
4 Russia (e) 73.4 71.6 2.6
5 United States 72.7 87.8 -17.2
6 South Korea 67.1 71.4 -6.0
7 Turkey 35.8 33.7 6.0
8 Germany 35.7 39.6 -10.0
9 Brazil 31.0 32.6 -4.9
10 Iran (e) 29.0 25.6 13.4

Laser-based sensor technology for recycling metals

There are clear advantages of recycling: Used metal scrap that can no longer be used, such as pipes, sheet metal, tools, old cables, electrical and electronic scrap and old parts from households or demolition, can be melted down, sorted by metal or alloy, and reused with virtually no loss of quality. Due to the high value of the materials, the process ideally pays for itself – and produces significantly less CO2 than the primary process: The expensive, technically complex extraction of mineral resources under sometimes highly critical conditions, as well as their transport to destinations around the globe, is no longer necessary.

The crux of the matter is that both the price and availability of metal scrap and its recycling rate depend on numerous mutually dependent factors. These include fluctuating prices on the primary market, the life cycle of products and their collection rate, losses in the process, technical recyclability and the value of the alloy in question. The global markets are correspondingly volatile. If the price of primary metals rises, the availability of scrap falls, and vice versa. This entails high risks for companies.

Greater yield thanks to lasers

Against this backdrop, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (Fraunhofer ILT), together with Cronimet Ferroleg from Karlsruhe, Germany, has developed a novel laser-based sorting process. The sensor technology, developed as part of the PLUS project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), makes the detection and sorting of alloys in metal scrap much faster and more accurate. In 2020, the pilot plant was put into operation at the Cronimet-Ferroleg site in Karlsruhe and has performed remarkably well. Among other things, it is designed to process high-speed steels, or HSS for short.

“HSS tools contain valuable alloying elements such as cobalt and can be found in any hardware store. For example, in drills or milling heads,” says Dr. Cord Fricke-Begemann, who is responsible for materials analysis at Fraunhofer ILT and led the PLUS project with the support of PhD student Fredrik Schreckenberg.

Common processes are limited to the laborious manual measurement of a few alloys. On the other hand, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), developed at Fraunhofer ILT and used in PLUS, is a technology that can identify more than 20 special alloys even in small scrap parts – automatically, quickly and without contact. “In a very short amount of time, we can process more scrap and achieve higher grade purity,” says Fricke-Begemann. “In this way, we are building an important bridge between research and industry.”

Future technology for Europe

As part of the EU project “Retrofitting Equipment for Efficient Use of Variable Feedstock in Metal Making Processes” (REVaMP), which was launched in 2020, Fraunhofer ILT is now contributing its expertise in the field of material analysis at the European level. The project, which is scheduled to run for three and a half years, is supported by an international alliance of companies and research institutes from Spain, Poland and Germany. “The goal is to put the knowledge gathered in the PLUS project on a universal basis, regardless of the alloys involved,” says Fricke-Begemann. “We want to build a sensor that can be installed in existing industrial plants to make the recycling process fundamentally more efficient.”

What are the composition and properties of the alloys to be recycled? How much lead does the delivered material contain? When does a material become molten and how much energy needs to be added? These questions are the focus of REVaMP and are to be answered more precisely in the future. If successful, this would be a significant contribution to making Europe more independent of the global raw materials markets – and to decisively improving the resource efficiency of its companies.

November 2020 crude steel production

Due to the ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of this month’s figures are estimates that may be revised with next month’s production update.

In Asia, China produced 87.7 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, an increase of 8.0% compared to November 2019. India produced 9.2 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 3.5% on November 2019. Japan produced 7.3 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, down 5.9% on November 2019. South Korea’s crude steel production for November 2020 was 5.8 Mt, down by 2.4% on November 2019.

In the European Union, Germany produced 3.4 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 14.8% on November 2019. Italy produced 2.0 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 3.2% on November 2019. France produced 1.1 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 3.7% on November 2019.

In North America, the United States produced 6.1 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, a decrease of 13.7% compared to November 2019.

In the C.I.S., production is estimated to be 8.2 Mt in November 2020, up 7.0% on November 2019. Ukraine produced 1.7 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 30.8% on November 2019.

In other Europe, Turkey’s crude steel production for November 2020 was 3.2 Mt, up by 11.6% on November 2019.

In South America, Brazil produced 3.0 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 11.2% on November 2019.

November 2020 crude steel production

Due to the ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of this month’s figures are estimates that may be revised with next month’s production update.

In Asia, China produced 87.7 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, an increase of 8.0% compared to November 2019. India produced 9.2 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 3.5% on November 2019. Japan produced 7.3 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, down 5.9% on November 2019. South Korea’s crude steel production for November 2020 was 5.8 Mt, down by 2.4% on November 2019.

In the European Union, Germany produced 3.4 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 14.8% on November 2019. Italy produced 2.0 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 3.2% on November 2019. France produced 1.1 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 3.7% on November 2019.

In North America, the United States produced 6.1 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, a decrease of 13.7% compared to November 2019.

In the C.I.S., production is estimated to be 8.2 Mt in November 2020, up 7.0% on November 2019. Ukraine produced 1.7 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 30.8% on November 2019.

In other Europe, Turkey’s crude steel production for November 2020 was 3.2 Mt, up by 11.6% on November 2019.

In South America, Brazil produced 3.0 Mt of crude steel in November 2020, up 11.2% on November 2019.