The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has supported calls from a cross-party parliamentary group to make it easier to export scrap metal as secondary raw material.
The proposals were included in the report, ‘Exporting Opportunity? Putting UK Waste to Work at Home and Abroad’, commissioned by the All Party Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG).
The report said the Environment Agency should review end-of-waste approaches across the UK to improve dialogue with the industry.
The BMRA said this could allow companies to access valuable overseas markets by exporting scrap as secondary raw material rather than as waste.
It said end-of-waste regulations must therefore make it easier to declassify scrap metal waste.
The BMRA also welcomed a recommendation outlined in the report for the Treasury, Defra and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to boost the UK’s recycling infrastructure.
The report suggested raising the capital allowances threshold in order to support businesses developing infrastructure in line with the ambition of increasing domestic capacity for the recycling and reprocessing of different materials streams.
Ian Hetherington, BMRA director general, said: “The report recognises that our markets are global and intertwined and that we cannot base the export debate solely on the needs of the UK.
“Currently 60% of the recycled material processed in the UK is exported. This reflects the decline of our metal production industry which is a matter of regret for our members.”
He added: “Contrary to popular belief, China is our fifth largest export market, Turkey is by far our largest with countries like Egypt and Indonesia also of great importance. One reason is that these countries use modern electric arc furnaces which are able to accept 100% recycled material.”