Recycling Crucial To Growing Economy in The UK

The Government’s ‘Building on our Industrial Strategy’ green paper is a move in the right direction but more can be done. The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) welcomes the publication of the Government’s green paper setting out its industrial strategy and its renewed commitment to work with stakeholders to explore opportunities to reduce raw material demand and waste, and to promote well-functioning markets for secondary materials.

The proposals, set out in its Strategy, focus in part on delivering affordable energy and clean growth. More specifically, it considers securing the economic benefits of moving towards a low-carbon economy. Promoting an economy where recycling plays a prominent role will help the Government achieve this objective.

Recognising that more needs to be done to reduce our impact on the environment is a great first step. However, the Strategy should be going further if we are to have any discernible effect on environmental issues. The scientific evidence that using scrap metal over ore concentrate is environmentally beneficial is irrefutable. For example, the CO2 emissions associated with producing one tonne of copper cathode is just 0.44 tonnes of CO2compared to 1.25 tonnes of CO2 when using ore concentrate. Similar CO2 savings can be seen in other metals such as iron and aluminium. *

In the light of such compelling data, perhaps carbon capture and storage should be mandated alongside, where appropriate, the use of secondary raw materials in preference to their primary-produced counterparts – particularly during Government-led procurement processes.

Equally, working with the entire supply chain, the Government could begin to encourage a move towards increased openness in terms of declaring the levels of recycled content in materials, where it is physically and economically possible to do so.

BMRA is ready to work with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to help shape a strategy that truly supports UK businesses across the recycling supply chain and beyond. Deploying pull mechanisms that promote the use of locally-produced materials rich in recycled content, will help support a robust national circular economy and embrace the use of innovative technologies. This is turn will result in a thriving economy and also secure valuable resources us and future generations.

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