European Metals Recycling Group Evaluates EC Actions

European Metals Recycling Group Evaluates EC Actions

Association says restrictions on the export of ferrous scrap will not help the steel industry in Europe.

November 20, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Ferrous Legislation & Regulations

The European Ferrous Recovery & Recycling Federation (EFR) has published the findings of a study on conflicting policies and initiatives up to, and including, the European Commission’s Steel Action Plan. The release of the study follows an announcement by the EU Commission on a set of recommendations, which it released earlier this year, to revive the European steel industry.

The French consulting firm Laplace Conseil conducted the survey, which evaluated the impact of the measures on the recycling industry.

In a press release, EFR notes that while it fully supports the EC’s intention to foster a sustainable EU steel industry, it expressed concern that measures it promoted could jeopardize the scrap collection, sorting and processing industry. “Export restrictions and high regulation costs on the EU scrap recycling industry will have a detrimental impact on EU’s employment, trade relations and environment,” says EFR President Tom Bird. “Scrap collectors and processors, along with the EAF steel industry, enjoy a symbiotic relationship that needs to be nurtured, not put at risk by unintended consequences of new regulation.”

Issues that created significant concerns for the EFR includes proposals to restrict the exports or impose additional monitoring burdens on scrap metal trade. Marcel Genet, founder/managing director of Laplace Conseil and author of the report, notes, “The EU has a huge and growing scrap reservoir. There is no risk of scrap shortage that would justify export restrictions.”

Bird adds, “We cannot support any policy that impedes the export of steel scrap. We need to protect the free flow of scrap and are concerned that any restrictions would have a detrimental impact on us.”

Moreover, EFR says that the study claims that export restrictions will not increase domestic EAF (electric arc furnace) steel industry output, since that is driven by domestic demand. Basic Oxygen n Furnace (BOF) and EAF producers are already facing very different regulatory costs, with the scrap consuming EAF producers burdened with a higher regulatory cost per metric ton of finished products. The EU scrap recycling industry fears that negative effects of existing regulations will remain unaddressed as policy makers turn to new scrap export restrictions, monitoring and regulations.

“EFR fully supports the Commission’s intention to foster a sustainable EU steel industry, but must oppose measures that jeopardize our healthy scrap industry,” Bird adds. “Instead we would like to see more measures to increase the recycling of steel.”

In fact, Bird points out, there is no risk of a scrap shortage. At the present time there is more ferrous scrap collected in Europe than is needed.