A growing number of illegal scrap yards in Europe endanger
the environment and increase competition for valuable scrap
metals, European industry sources said recently.
Record metal prices - with copper hitting an all-time high
of $8,880 per tonne earlier this year - have sparked a hunt
for secondary raw materials.
"The problem with illegal dealers is growing - it's enormous
now because of high metal prices" - said Bjorn Grufman, President
of Eurometrec, the European federation of scrap dealers. Their
increasing number is hurting the reputation of the industry
and, because they do not follow any legal requirements, it
could pose an environmental danger, Grufman said on the sidelines
of a Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) conference.
BIR is the umbrella organisation for Eurometrec.
"It is unfair on all the serious dealers" - he said, adding
that theft from scrap yards had become more frequent. "The
barriers to entry in our industry are so low, which makes
it easy for outsiders to set up a yard" - Grufman said, adding
that this posed environmental risks as these yards were not
"The authorities don't really regulate these yards - they
don't have the resources" - he said, adding that Eurometrec
tried to get the police to deal with the problem.
In the Nordic region, Eurometrec has told all their member
scrap yards not to pay for scrap in cash. "In Sweden, you
cannot go to anyone and expect to get cash for the scrap"
- he said. Instead, money
had to be transferred to an official bank account that could
easily be traced to the owner.
BIR is the umbrella agency of the international recycling
industry which generates over $150 billion in turnover each
year and handles over 600 million tonnes of raw material a
year. For more information - Click