The European Ferrous Recovery & Recycling Association (EFR) claims that export restrictions and high regulation costs on the EU scrap recycling industry will have a detrimental effect on employment, trade relations and the environment.

Tom Bird, the EFR’s president, claims that conflicting policies and initiatives up to and including the EU’s Steel Action Plan jeopardize the scrap collection, sorting and processing industry and argues that the EAF (electric arc furnace) steel industry, along with scrap collectors and processors, enjoy a symbiotic relationship that needs to be nurtured, ‘not put at risk by unintended consequences of new regulation’.

According to the EFR, the European scrap recycling industry employs 300,000 workers and, together with the EAF sector, generates a trade surplus of EUR11 billion and consumes 78% less energy than the BF/BOF sector. It also generates 85% less C02.

The EFR commissioned its own research, conducted by French consultancy Laplace Conseil, which found that EU proposals to restrict or impose additional monitoring burdens on scrap metal trade were ‘particularly worrisome’.
Marcel Genet, founder and managing director of Laplace Conseil, said: “The EU haas a huge and growing scrap reservoir. There is no risk of scrap shortage that would justify export restrictions.”

Genet added that export restrictions would not increase domestic EAF steel industry output, which is driven by domestic demand.

EAF producers, claim the EFR, are already burdened with higher regulatory costs per tonne of finished products, when compared with BOF producers, and the big fear is that existing regulations will remain unaddressed as policy makers turn to new scrap export restrictions, monitoring and regulations.

ERF president Tom Bird wants to see more measures designed to increase steel recycling.

“The ERF fully supports the Commission’s intention to foster a sustainable EU steel industry, but must oppose measures that jeopardize our healthy scrap industry,” he said.