Some 150 respresentatives of the global aluminium recycling business descended on Berlin in November 2014 for Metal Bulletin Events’ 22nd International Recycled Aluminium Conference. Germany, the hub of European aluminium recycling, secondary smelting and cast alloy consumption, proved a great draw as a location and a highlight of the event was the optional pre-conference visit to Novelis’ brand new recycling plant at Nachterstedt – the largest such facility in the world. This plant is now gearing up to produce some 400,000 tpy of sheet ingot all based on recycled feed.
“I enjoyed the discussions very much. Overall I was astonished and positively impressed about the large number of participants at the conference.”
Erwin Mayr, President, Novelis Europe
"A very well organised and structured conference with relevant papers for all industry personnel.“
Stuart Allen, Projects Manager, Mechatherm
What was everyone talking about?:
· Scrap availability, flows and prices: with China, India, refiners, remelters and primary casthouses all chasing scrap, the supply side is not likely to get any easier
· Current scrap sorting technology can only do so much. Manufacturers and scrap generators need to focus more on designing-in recyclablity into products and ensuring process scrap is kept separate at source
· China is not such a big importer of scrap as it was before as more is being generated and collected locally. The Chinese are not lagging behind in developing new recycling technologies, either, especially as labour costs rise
· While there is still some good growth expected for automotive casting and extrusions, the hot topic was automotive body sheet. As investments get underway, a lot of scrap should be generated from stamping activities but will any of this come into the market or will it all be contained in closed loops?
· Novelis continues to push the boundaries of recycled content especially in automotive and packaging but has stated it will withdraw from product lines that will not or cannot use high-recycled content aluminium
· The regulatory challenge for recyclers had not gone away although there is some hope in the EU at least that the new Commission make-up will lead to a greater understanding of recycling industry needs. At the same time consumers are placing greater emphasis on products with a lower carbon footprint - good news for recycled aluminium