MEPs call for EU scrap export ban

A large number of European members of parliament (MEP) have signed a letter calling for the EU to stop exports of steel scrap, Kallanish notes.

The letter was prepared by Italian MEP Massimilani Salini and signed by 70 MEPs in total. Italian EAF-based steelmakers are among the most concerned about the availability of ferrous scrap going forward.

“Ferrous scrap is a valuable resource for the EU steel industry that helps reduce the use of primary raw materials and has a reduction potential of the CO2 emissions of the steelmaking process of 1.4-5 tonnes of CO2, depending on the quality and the process,” the letter explains.

“Ferrous scrap is an important element for starting down the de-carbonisation path and making the sector even more circular,” it continues. “However, exports of ferrous scrap from the EU27 have increased from 9 million tonnes in 2015 to more than 15mt in 2019. This has resulted in major detrimental climate and environmental consequences in destination countries, and globally, that would have been avoided if the same volumes had been recycled in the EU. This trend has to be reversed.”

The MEPs point out European waste ends up in countries with environmental, labour and safety requirements that are much lower than EU standards, resulting in much higher greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, a further control on exports from the EU should be in place.

“Exports of secondary raw materials should only be allowed when the country of destination can demonstrate that it has implemented equivalent standards on environment (emissions control and waste management), climate (ambitous climate targets and specific instruments for cutting GHGs) and human health (including workforce rights and safety),” the letter concludes.

The possibility of new legislation curbing exports of scrap from Europe has been mentioned on various occasions in recent months by officials and industry leaders. A clear strategy in that direction is yet to be formulated, however.

Emanuele Norsa Italy