LONDON European metals trade and recycling federation
Eurometrec opposes a proposal put forward by the European
Commission to classify copper scrap as waste if the volume of
foreign materials contained in it exceeds 2 percent of scrap
"Weve been campaigning adamantly against this. We have
been fighting hard against the 2 percent," Robert Voss, the
federations president, told AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin on Jan. 17, noting that the
classification is unnecessarily stringent and would lead to the
vast majority of scrap traded globally being classified as
The organization has lobbied for the foreign material
tolerance to be raised to 5 percent of total scrap weight,
possibly allowing for No. 2 copper scrapwhich has a 94-
to 96-percent copper content and is the most widely traded
scrap gradeto avoid the waste classification.
No. 1 copper scrap has a 96- to 98-percent copper content,
while bare bright wire has a minimum 99-percent copper
"Our suggestion of 5 percent is much more realistic. At 2
percent, the vast majority of copper scrap traded globally, and
both within and outside of the (European Union), would fail to
satisfy this categorization," Voss said, calling the 2-percent
limit "totally unrealistic."
E.U. member states were presented with a draft of the
regulations in 2012. However, some opposed the 2-percent
foreign material criterion as too stringent, according to the
The commissions Joint Research Centre concluded in a
technical report that "2 percent represents a safe
environmental limit value on foreign materials for copper scrap
to cease to be waste."
Other metals, earth, dust, insulation and glass, as well as
other chemical or organic substances such as rubber, plastic or
wood, can be classified as foreign material.
For copper scrap to be used as feedstock in pure copper
production, it must not be contaminated with oil or oily
emulsions, the proposed regulation states, adding that copper
barrels and containers must be emptied and cleaned for the
metal to be used as production feedstock, while cables should
be chopped or stripped and plastics removed.
Once agreed upon by the European Parliament and the
E.U.s Council of Ministers, the criteria would be added
to the broader-based E.U. 2008 waste framework directive.
The European Commission, which supports the Joint Research
Centres conclusion on the safety of the limit, said it
might review the criteria if "adverse effects on recycling
markets for copper scrap are noted, in particular with regard
to the availability of and access to such scrap."
Carmen Paun, Brussels, contributed to this
A version of this article was first published by AMM
sister publication Metal Bulletin.