UK Steel seeks limits on scrap exports amid decarbonization efforts

Thursday, 07 December 2023 11:17:59 (GMT+3)   |   Istanbul

The UK-based trade association UK Steel has called on the UK government to take action to safeguard scrap supply as the country’s steel industry will need three times as much scrap to deliver its net zero target. Global scrap demand is expected to increase by 30 percent by 2030 and by over 60 percent by 2050 amid decarbonization efforts, while 43 countries have already introduced export restrictions and the EU will introduce restrictions of exports to non-OECD countries from 2027 unless they can demonstrate sustainable practices.

According to a new report published by the trade association, the UK annually generates over 10 million mt of scrap. However, it currently exports 80 percent of scrap produced. Over half of the UK’s scrap exports go to non-OECD countries. UK Steel urges the government to create the necessary conditions for this important raw material to remain in the country.

As exporting scrap also has clear environmental impacts, UK Steel estimates that the country’s export of scrap and subsequent re-import of steel gives rise to an additional 1.5 million mt of carbon each year, compared to entirely processing scrap in the UK.

“The UK steel industry will not use all the domestically generated scrap and some of it will rightly be exported, but we must get the balance right. Exporting huge volumes of this precious material only creates a bigger carbon footprint,” Gareth Stace, director general of UK Steel, commented.

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