UK Steel's Battlecry: Keep Scrap Local

ScrapImage Source: SteelGuru


Trade body UK Steel issues a rallying cry to retain millions of tonnes of scrap steel within the UK, emphasizing its vital role in the industry's climate change fight. The call urges against exporting waste metal overseas, fearing it could undermine the sector's green transformation. With the steel industry transitioning to electric arc systems, UK Steel advocates for utilizing the abundant local scrap in the conversion process. Shipping it abroad, the industry warns, may contribute to increased carbon emissions, jeopardizing environmental goals.


In a pivotal move to strengthen the UK steel industry's commitment to environmental sustainability, trade body UK Steel has released a compelling report advocating for the retention of millions of tonnes of scrap steel within the country. The plea underscores the significance of utilizing local resources to bolster production and combat climate change.

The core argument put forth by UK Steel revolves around the imminent transition of the steel industry from coal-fired blast furnaces to more eco-friendly electric arc systems, which heavily rely on scrap steel. The industry's director-general, Gareth Stace, stressed the logical approach of maximizing the abundant local resource instead of exporting it overseas for processing.

Stace emphasized, "Exporting huge volumes of this precious material only creates a bigger carbon footprint and means we are shirking our environmental responsibilities."

Scrap steel serves as the primary "feedstock" for the less-polluting electric arc furnaces, positioning it as a crucial component in the sector's journey towards sustainability. The plea from UK Steel aligns with a broader initiative to embrace a circular economy and reduce the carbon footprint associated with the steel production process.

The steel industry has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact, accounting for 14% of the UK's industrial emissions and 2.7% of the nation's greenhouse gases. As key players like Tata Steel embark on transitioning major plants to electric arc furnaces, the demand for scrap steel becomes pivotal in achieving emission reduction goals.

Despite the industry's reliance on scrap steel, a significant portion, 80% of the 10 million tonnes generated annually, is currently sent abroad. UK Steel's plea addresses concerns about exporting to countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), where environmental standards may not align with the UK's commitment to sustainability.


UK Steel's impassioned plea to retain scrap steel within the country emerges as a crucial step in the industry's battle against climate change. As the steel sector gears up for a monumental shift towards electric arc systems, the significance of utilizing local resources becomes paramount. The call serves not just as an environmental imperative but as a strategic move to align the industry with circular economy principles. The UK's steel industry faces the challenge of reducing its carbon footprint, and keeping scrap steel local stands as a pivotal solution in this transformative journey.

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