Speaking on behalf of EuRIC at a conference-debate on the topic “Towards a low-carbon steelmaking in Europe” organised by the recycling company and COP21 official sponsor Derichebourg, Mr. Manuel BURNAND stressed that “the world cannot continue with the take-make-dispose pattern of the linear economy as we will hit the physical limits of the planet and inevitably continue to emit more greenhouse gases emissions”.
Taking the example of steel recycling, Burnand made the case for recycled steel scrap’s contribution to a low-carbon economy using striking figures. “In steelmaking, it is well-known that using recycled steel scrap can save up to 64% of CO2 emissions when comparing with primary production and that using one tonne of iron or steel scrap saves the mining of 1.5 tonnes of iron ore”, said Burnand.
However, he recalled that still today in Europe, the cost of EU regulation remains substantially higher for Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF) steelmakers using mainly recycled steel scrap than for Basic Oxygen Furnaces (BOF) plants relying mainly on primary raw materials. “Such distortions cannot last longer if we are serious about climate change and want to move towards a circular economy, in particular as Europe is resource-rich when it comes to steel scrap, which is not the case for iron ore”, Burnand commented. This is even more relevant in the current economic situation. In Germany alone, the share of EAF steel production has dropped to a historical low of less than 30 percent of the total crude steel production. With this decline of steel scrap use, prices for steel scrap continue to decrease dramatically jeopardizing the economic viability of a number of steel scrap recycling companies in Europe.
“It is time to acknowledge the huge benefits recycling brings to the environment and society in terms of CO2, energy and natural resource savings and for policy-makers to translate these into legislation to optimise the use of steel scrap”, Burnand concluded.