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Aluminium recycling set to sky-rocket

Europe – Aluminium industry forecasts point to massive recycling growth for the metal over the next decade.

Having conducted a life-cycle analysis of the various product groups and taken into account projected collection and recycling rates, the International Aluminium Institute expects the volume of recovered scrap to leap from approximately 9.5 million tonnes in 2010 to almost 17 million tonnes in 2020. Roland Scharf Bergmann, head of the Recycling Unit of Europe’s leading aluminium producer Hydro, says such growth prospects reflect a change in society’s mindset and perceptions driven by environmental concerns and the need to save energy. Aluminium recycling volumes jumped from 13.7 million tonnes in 2003 to 19.4 million tonnes in 2009, representing an increase of 42% compared to a 28% advance in primary production. The trend has been supported by strong growth of close to 50% in scrap recovered from end-of-life products over the same period. In his keynote address to a Metal Bulletin event in Poland, Mr Scharf Bergmann said scrap has become a strategic raw material around the globe. ‘We know that China views scrap as strategic, so we can expect China to grow their investment in recycling as well as scrap imports significantly,’ he said. Global scrap flows are expected to surge from 4 million tonnes in 2008 to more than 10 million tonnes in 2020, with the majority expected to end up in China or elsewhere in Asia.

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