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recycling for sustainable development

Recycled content of metals and alloys is a poor indicator of environmental performance and may discourage the efficient production and use of recycled metals, according to a broad coalition of metal industry associations, which includes the European Aluminium Association (EAA). 

In a declaration issued today, the metals industry has released a set of recycling principles for all stakeholders in the metals value chain concerned with promoting metals recycling. 

The declaration states that a product systems approach provides a truer picture of the sustainability of a material or product than simple recycled content. When product-based objectives are based on resource conservation alone, the environmental costs and benefits of recycling may not be adequately addressed. 

The group of 18 industry bodies who have released the declaration hope to improve the understanding of metals recycling amongst policy makers and product designers and manufacturers. Metal scrap is a valuable resource that, when transformed into new products, can increase the material and energy efficiency of product systems. The focus needs to be on the fate of products at the end of their initial use and the efficient re-introduction of materials that become available for recycling back into the supply chain.  

The declaration is a result of metal producing companies extending their interest beyond the plant gate to a consideration of the whole life cycle of their products. This focus on materials stewardship is in the interests of environmental and economic efficiency, achieving regulatory compliance and enhancing reputation through responsible behaviour. 

The declaration by the metals industry on recycling principles is available at www.icmm.com.

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