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Bird: Vital role of recycling must be recognised

Photo: Martijn Reintjes

Policy makers around the world have been urged to recognise the economic and environmental contribution of the recycling sector as countries emerge from restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The call came from Tom Bird, president of the Bureau of International Recycling, during an online forum organised by the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. Bird described how nations such as Italy, USA and the UK were faring in their efforts to re-build their economies. 

He noted that scrap volumes in most developed countries that had been locked down had returned to an estimated 40-60% of normal levels. Recyclers provided a vital role, he said. ‘I hope this recognition continues long after the crisis has passed.’

Other contributors reported on regional markets and prices including Cinzia Vezzosi, president of the metals division of the Italian Federation Assofermat, who said the scrap market in her country had stabilised.

Worse than expected  

In a keynote presentation on the US position, Sean Davidson, the founder and ceo of the Davis Index price-reporting agency, said US steel demand was expected to fall by 20-30% this year, worse than the initial expectations from analysts of 4-10%.

Early forecasts for 2021 suggested an increase of 5-10% but Davidson said that meant this year’s decline in demand and output would not be fully recovered next year. The latest utilisation rate for the US steel industry during the week ending 11 July was 57.5%.

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