BDSV asks EU to drop the ‘waste’ label

BDSV asks EU to drop the ‘waste’ label

German ferrous scrap association also criticizes Eurofer anti-export position.

May 16, 2022

The Federal Association of German Steel Recycling and Disposal Cos. (BDSV), based in Düsseldorf, Germany, has released a statement discouraging the European Union Parliament from adopting scrap export barrier proposals being made by Brussels-based Eurofer, a European steelmakers’ trade group.

BDSV says amendments to the EU Ordinance on Transboundary Shipments of Waste (VVA) proposed by Eurofer would lead to “hindering the free and fair trade in raw materials from recycling, in particular steel scrap.”

The group says it “rejects with all determination” the Eurofer proposals “for even more far-reaching export barriers of the climate protection product steel scrap.”

The German scrap federation says, “The EU is one of the few economic areas in the world in which raw materials from recycling, which can be used instead of primary raw materials and thus [have] a positive environmental effect, are classified as waste.”

BDSV continues, “Maintaining this systemic classification per se represents a massive disadvantage of the European steel recycling industry compared to global market participants and hinders the transition to a circular and climate-neutral economy in Europe and beyond.”

The EU is a ferrous scrap surplus market, BDSV says. “The quantities of steel scrap exported to non-European countries in 2021 will help to save resources, energy and CO2 in [importing] countries by substituting primary raw materials with secondary raw materials. Climate protection is a global challenge and does not stop at the borders of the EU.”

BDSV also makes trade fairness arguments. “While the European steel industry continues to import raw materials from recycling from third countries, the planned export restrictions--and [those] proposed by Eurofer--represent an unjustifiable disadvantage for the European steel recycling industry with negative consequences for the entire European steel industry,” the organization says.

The term “waste” applied in the EU to circular raw materials with an established market value continues to be misnomer, BDSV says. “The BDSV strongly reaffirms its demand to the EU Commission and [its Environment Committee] to finally introduce a distinction between directly usable, quality-assured raw materials from recycling and untreated waste.”

BDSV continues, “The shipment of such recycled raw materials, which do not pose a risk to the environment and thus comply with international quality standards, must therefore remain possible to [both] OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] and non-OECD countries.”