COVID-19 has impacted every industry across the UK. The nationwide lockdowns and subsequent restrictions to working practices have caused unprecedented disruption as never seen before. The recycling industry has not been exempted from this upheaval.
Changes in metal value
COVID-19 put a stop to scrap metal shipments, with a lot of plants across the world being closed down due to restrictions. With the decline in production, scrap metal recycling demand has fallen. Aluminium is still underperforming because nearly all UK aluminium smelters have been closed down. Due to the scarcity of scrap, some countries even began to impose bans on exporting scrap metal, such as South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
As most countries reopen their economies, demand for specific metals rises, such as copper, but the supply is still disrupted, driving up the price. However, the low prices on the UK metal market are disrupting as many traders are storing their valuable metals and not selling them for scrapping. This is due to the current low prices currently being offered, with traders likely holding until the economy recovers.
The delivery and prices of scrap metal have been affected by the pandemic. With so many workers in the construction industry on furlough, many scrap yards have been working at reduced capacity, affecting the market. The metal recycling market is dependent on high or low metal prices, and market changes have had a considerable impact on recycling habits and the scrap shredder market.
Covid-19 and the metal recycling supply chain
The rate of metal recycling across the UK has seen a decline. Social distancing has meant that metal recycling centres have typically been closed to the public or have had restrictions only allowing public members to drop off one type of waste per visit. At Reclamet, we specialise in end of life vehicle and scrap metal recycling, processing and collection from ferrous and non-ferrous materials. We ensure that metals are being recycled and used by companies who need them to keep the supply chain from trade to commercial corporate.
What is the future outlook?
Every business faces a significant challenge, especially in manufacturing and construction. The recycling industry in the UK supplies materials across the globe, and other countries face similar problems due to the global pandemic, meaning that they are suspending their markets to some of our recycled materials. Without these markets, many recycling operators are competing for warehouse space with other industries.
But things will change. While COVID-19 has put the brakes on the industry, recycling scrap metal is expected to continue to grow into the future. As recycling businesses develop and better waste collection systems are implemented, business opportunities will continue to appear, creating thousands more jobs. It will take some time, with initial upfront costs. But, once the UK begins to adapt to a post-COVID-19 world, the recycling industry will be a vital player in helping to rebuild the economy.
Scrap metal recycling
Reclamet is local scrap metal recycling company based in Birchington, Kent.
We offer scrap processing services throughout Thanet and Kent, including scrap metal recycling, scrap metal processing and scrap metal collection.
Reclamet – The Recycling Centre
England. CT7 0HL