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Metals recycling can lead green revolution says BMRA

The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has outlined how the sector can work with Government to meet materials recycling and recovery targets and aim for zero waste.

It has set out four areas for creating a “truly green economy”, creating green jobs and reducing bureaucracy.

They are better regulation and enforcement – including proposals on combating metal theft; improved planning provision; guidance and support on technologies to maximise recycling rates; and promoting international trade (see box below for more details).

BMRA launched its Agenda for Change with deputy president Graham Davy saying the £5bn UK metal recycling industry already led the green agenda contributing significantly to reaching EU environmental recycling and recovery targets such as End of Life vehicles and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment).

“With the right policy and legislative framework in place, the metals recycling industry can continue to lead the way in developing materials recycling and recovery, he said.

Speaking at the launch, chairman of the House of Commons’ Business, Innovation and Skills select committee Adrian Bailey MP said: “BMRA’s Agenda for Change is a valuable opportunity to take note of the important role metals recycling plays in protecting the environment and to hear how industry and Government can work together to ensure our key environmental objectives of reducing waste and cutting carbon emissions are met.”

  • Better regulation and improved enforcement: Hundreds of unlicensed and un-permitted sites across the UK do untold damage to our environment and threaten the reputation and competitiveness of the compliant and regulated majority while also providing a market for stolen materials. To close down and prosecute illegal operators, a radical change of the regulatory structure and enforcement priorities of the police, Environment Agency, HMRC and local authorities is required
  • Planning provision: The planning system must make provision for new recycling and recovery facilities, and avoid damaging existing ones, in order to maintain and further improve the UK’s metals recycling infrastructure.
  • Maximising recycling rates: Metals recyclers are ready and willing to invest in the technologies needed to maximise recycling rates, recover energy from materials that cannot be recycled and to meet future targets. But in order to do it, clear and considered guidance and support is needed from Government on issues such as generating energy from waste (EfW)
  • Promoting international trade: According to the OECD, there were 1,718 incidences of export restrictions imposed on the worldwide minerals and metals sector in 2009. As a major global exporter of metals, these measures, which include export prohibitions, export quotas, licensing requirements and special duties or taxes, have a disproportionate effect on the UK economy. To minimise their effect, Government must continue to resist calls for UK and EU export restrictions, improve enforcement of existing Waste Shipment Regulations and extend the use of end-of-waste mechanisms already put in place for metals like steel, iron and aluminium.  

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