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UK metals recycling sector set for ‘transformative changes’, BIR says

This report from the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) suggests significant changes ahead for the metals recycling sector in the UK, particularly in the ferrous division. Here’s a summary of the key points:

Transition to Sustainable Steelmaking: There’s a shift from traditional basic oxygen furnace (BOF) technology to more sustainable and less carbon-intensive electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking. This transition is expected to increase domestic demand for recycled steel in the UK.

Challenges in the UK Steel Sector: Despite the positive outlook, the UK steel sector faces challenges such as reduced production and recycled steel usage by major companies like Tata and Celsa group. British Steel and Liberty Steel are also operating at low capacity utilization rates.

Export Dependency: The UK currently exports a significant portion of its recycled steel due to low domestic demand. However, with the transition to EAF steelmaking, there will likely be a higher demand for recycled steel domestically.

Global Trade Challenges: Exporters are facing challenges such as disrupted shipping routes and trade barriers. Freight increases and economic crises in importing countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan have affected demand and pricing for recycled steel exports from the UK.

Positive Long-Term Outlook: Despite short-term challenges, the medium to long-term outlook for the industry remains positive. There is increasing demand for high-quality recycled metal products globally.

Global Crude Steel Production: Global crude steel production has slightly increased, indicating ongoing activity in the steel industry worldwide.

In summary, while the UK metals recycling sector faces immediate challenges, such as export difficulties and reduced domestic demand, there is optimism about the sector’s future, particularly with the transition to more sustainable steelmaking processes.

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