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Scrap gains as premiums are paid for ‘green’ metals

Tim Luxx.

A growing interest in ‘green’ raw materials is boosting demand for scrap metals, notably copper.

A range of industries is said to be driving this trend, including wind turbines and the automotive sector, prompting a shift throughout its supply chain.

A recent detailed report by FastMarkets quotes one producer as saying ‘[Procurers in] green technology want green copper’ while several sources highlight the electric vehicle market for being ‘more particular about using green copper’. The focus on products being ‘green’ means that procurement is even more particular, the report adds.

Public pressure

The trend is said to be most advanced in Europe with public pressure on companies to be more sustainable, and this is being particularly felt by original equipment manufacturers seeking to use both low-CO2 materials with high recycled content.

FastMarkets says there is less certainty over whether end users will pay a premium for ‘green’ metals. However, the recent International Automobile Recycling Congress (IARC) event in Geneva in June was told such premiums are being paid.

Tim Luxx, associate director, non-ferrous metals and recycling with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), considered improved circularity for ELVs in the US during his address. He maintained that end-customers were willing to pay a ‘low carbon premium’ of 1-5% for copper, 3-5% for aluminium and 4-8% class 1 nickel.

He identified three ‘pillars’ for improved recycling value in the US: preventing the downgrading of scrap by pre-processing ELVs more; upgrading ASR and zorba; and reducing ELV scrap to landfill.

There is more on the IARC event in the upcoming issue of Recycling International.

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