North American scrap markets are "very, very tight" as large
inventories of scrap have dried up, according to one industry
"Fields of scrapped
cars have already been crushed and shredded, buildings have
been dismantled and shredded and recycled, and companies that
generate scrap as part of their manufacturing process have
become efficient," said Garney B. Scott, president of Scepter
Inc., a Waverly, Tenn., secondary aluminum recycling and
As a result, less
scrap is available at the same time that less is being
generated, Scott said, and scrap items that traditionally had
been consumed by secondaries are now being shredded, cleaned up
and sent directly to mills. "There is lots of capacity built to
support a secondary aluminum industry that is looking for raw
material inputs that are nonexistent," he said during a press
roundtable Oct. 9 at the Aluminum Associations fall
meeting in Farmington, Pa.
U.S. and Canadian
scrap imports this year have increased slightly from 2012,
albeit by a negligible amount, while exports have dropped by
roughly 325 million pounds, Scott said, but the market is still
under pressure, even with less scrap leaving the country and 90
percent of vehicles being recycled.
"A lot of pressure is
on these plants to find more sources, which just dont
exist," Scott said. But companies still need to produce. "And
to make the product, you are having to use primary aluminum.
Thats the result," he said.