MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.
US can recycling hits 20-year record high
The recycling rate of aluminium beverage containers in the US reached a 20-year peak last year, partly as a result of an increase in used can imports, according to the Aluminium Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute and the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.
In 2012, 62 billion (67%) of the 92 billion cans produced were made of recycled aluminium - the highest rate since the early 1990s. The US aluminium industry aims to reach 75% by 2015.
In 2012 alone it imported and recycled almost 13 billion cans, nearly double that in 2007. But almost $900m (£560m)-worth of aluminium cans end up in US landfills every year.
Heavy steel plate prices increasing
A major US steel maker has raised its heavy steel plate prices further by $20 per tonne due to strong demand.
SSAB Americas said it expected the US economy to recover in the fourth quarter and this would have a positive impact on steel demand. In Europe, demand and prices were not expected to change, but Asian demand was likely to rise, it added.
Most US steel makers have raised heavy plate prices.
Austrian and German firms link on plastics
An Austrian plastic reprocessor and a German extruder technology provider have joined forces to market pioneering lines of recycling compounding technology for plastics.
Next Generation Recycling-maschinen (NGR) and Leistritz Extrusionstechnik will launch four product lines endorsed with Leistritz’s twin-screw extruder technology. This allows the melt to be refined to produce pellets at optimum cost.
Additives, fillers and reinforcing compounds are added to the melt to determine the property profile, said the companies, allowing the materials to be customised for virtually any application.
Russia’s zero waste Olympic pledge probe
Moscow’s preparations for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics were scrutinised after allegations of waste being dumped in a water protection zone.
Associated Press reported that tyres and construction waste were dumped in an illegal landfill site near a river that supplies half of Sochi’s water.
As part of its Olympic bid, Russia trumpeted a zero waste programme, promising the cleanest games ever.
Sanitation and waste institute for Ghana
A body to provide training to sanitation and waste engineers in Africa is set to open in Ghana.
The Institute of Sanitation and Waste Management will be based in Accra. It will host some 100 workers from Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Togo, Zambia and Ghana.
Zoomlion Ghana, a major waste management company in Ghana, provided most of the funding.
China’s ferrous scrap demand set to rise
China’s foundry sector will boost the country’s ferrous scrap consumption during the next decade, said a report from Metal Bulletin Research.
The report highlighted the size, growth and important role of the foundry sector worldwide, and claimed that previous studies often overlooked this part of the market. One consequence, the report said, was that Chinese ferrous scrap demand was “grossly underestimated”.
The report stated: “We expect the demand for scrap in China to increase by 7% per year on average out to 2021, at a time when the world’s scrap supply will dramatically increase - reaching well over two billion tonnes.”
Report highlights recycling weakness
A report from a cross-country recycling body highlighted the weakness of the recycling value chain in South America and the Caribbean.
The Regional Initiative for Inclusive Recycling, a project sponsored by the Multilateral Investment Fund, the Water and Sanitation Division of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Avina Foundation and Coca-Cola Enterprises, studied the recycling sector in 15 countries in the region.
The study concluded that informal recyclers are the main players in the recycling sectors; most countries have scarce regulations; markets for materials reprocessing are weak due to the low volume of manufacturing plants; and there is a shortage of recycling firms.
But the regional trend is towards greater inclusion of workers in the formal recycling sector and stronger legislative frameworks.
REPORTS FROM BIR CONVENTION
Russia cuts duties
One of the more recent developments discussed during sessions at the BIR Convention in Warsaw was a change in Russian policy on duties - seen by delegates as protectionist. Following pressure from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), duties have been cut in Russia for the first time in 14 years, said Russian representative Ildar Neverov from Steelway. He said the change applied to all metals, including stainless steel scrap. He noted it was not a large cut but indicated progress to more open trade following Russian membership of WTO.
Secretary of the European Electronic Recyclers’ Asso-ciation Norbert Zonneveld briefed delegates on the likelihood of EU member states hitting directive targets.
Zonneveld said members states needed a combination of incentives and regulations, as well as a ban on exports of unwanted EEE that was complete and had not been treated. When WEEE was exported, he added, it should only be sent to operators with licensed treatment standards. This was supported by the US-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.
High prices danger
Belgian representative Pol T’Jollyn reported on the dangers of high prices for clothing. “We are facing competition from illegal collectors and sorting plants,” he said, which included theft from containers and during house-to-house collections. “We informed the different competent authorities and companies were closed. But these evil practices will be very hard to stop as long as the price for original [used textiles] remains so high.”
Technology to recycle materials in unwanted shoes was unveiled by Pailak Mzikian, recycling and sustainability director at SOEX. Donated shoes which cannot be reused are generally sent to landfill. SOEX has built pilot equipment at its Wolfen plant in Germany to process one tonne of shoes per day. Part of the research has been done by Loughborough University.
Demand ups and downs
UK bulk grade paper demand had declined slightly, largely due to the closure of Smurfit’s Snodland facility, and stocks remained relatively high. Low availability and high demand underpinned the strength of the de-inking grades market, while orders for the UK’s multigrade had improved in recent weeks owing to India’s re-entry into the market and to low domestic arisings.
Indian import worry
Surendra Borad, chairman of the BIR Plastics Committee, was concerned at India’s change in export-import policy. Imports of plastic scrap will have a requirement that 20% of it is re-exported when processed. This ratio will rise cumulatively every year, so that 100% of the imported material is re-exported by