Scrap should stay in Britain to help decarbonise the industry

The UK Steel industry association has called for millions of tons of scrap to be left in the UK to help the industry use this raw material in the fight against climate change. This is stated in a report, The Mirror reports.

UK Steel has warned that the supply of scrap abroad could jeopardize plans for the green transformation of the steel industry in the coming years. In addition, the association is concerned about the export of these raw materials to countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, where environmental standards may not meet the UK’s sustainability commitments.

«Steel scrap is core to our rapid transition to net-zero. Next to major government funding commitments and competitive industrial electricity prices, scrap policy is the final piece of the jigsaw to enable the decarbonisation of the UK steel sector and a low-carbon, circular economy,” UK Steel CEO Gareth Stace commented.

The steel industry in the UK accounts for 14% of industrial emissions and 2.7% of greenhouse gas emissions. Key players in the industry, Tata Steel and British Steel, are starting to convert their steel mills to electric arc furnaces, so demand for scrap is becoming key to achieving environmental goals.

The country produces 10 million tons of scrap annually, and 80% of it is currently exported, according to UK Steel. In addition, it is emphasized that many countries limit the export of this raw material to meet their own needs.

According to the organization, the British industrial sector will need three times more steel scrap than is currently available to achieve its zero emissions ambitions.

«As steelmakers in the UK and abroad journey towards decarbonising, steel scrap will become an increasingly sought after raw material, with global demand expected to rise by 30% by 2030 and over 60% by 2050,» in particular, the UK Steel report says.

The industry association’s report recommends allowing scrap exports only to those countries that can demonstrate their ability to manage waste sustainably, encouraging its retention in the UK by reducing export price support, and taking measures to improve the quality of scrap.

As GMK Center reported earlier, reducing carbon emissions in the UK steel industry will require significantly more and better scrap collection, sorting and recycling. This opinion was expressed in a column for the Financial Times by columnist Helen Thomas.