Defra set annual targets for business recycling including metals like aluminium and steel, but in 2020 we reach the end of the targets that have already been set.
That means the new year should bring official recycling rate targets for businesses once the necessary consultations are done.
So what metal recycling rates are businesses likely to face as a minimum during the early 2020s?
The rates achieved in recent years give an indication – and so far the UK is exceeding the minimum metal recycling rates set out by the EU.
Because of that, if Brexit happens as is now planned in January, it’s unlikely that Defra’s target recycling rates will fall.
Recycling rates in recent years
Defra’s statistics show that the UK’s packaging recycling rates – including aluminium and steel – are likely to hit an overall average of about 64.2% during 2020.
Steel is currently recycled more than any other material, with nearly three quarters of scrap steel expected to be recycled next year.
Glass is close behind on 70%, paper on nearly 65% and then aluminium on just over 60%.
Less than half of plastic waste is currently recycled, although this is expected to change in the future, and just over a third of waste wood is typically recycled too.
Remember too that these figures are percentages – so other initiatives like reducing the weight of packaging can also have an effect on the amount of non-recyclable packaging waste that is produced.
Metal recycling rates for the future
The good news for businesses is that scrap metal recycling is already around the level it will need to be for the coming decade.
A Defra consultation earlier in 2019 set waste metal recycling rates of:
• 75% in 2025 and 80% in 2030 for steel.
• 55% in 2025 and 60% in 2030 for aluminium.
Overall by the middle of the decade, 66% of business waste materials should be recycled, rising to 70% by the end of the 2020s.
It’s always harder to achieve the last percent than it is to achieve the first, but concerted effort by businesses and waste management companies has the UK well on the way to meeting and exceeding those targets ahead of schedule.
When will we know?
Defra need to carry out another consultation in early 2020, when the final recycling targets for UK businesses for the coming years should become public knowledge.
These targets are unlikely to change significantly once they’re published in the consultation document, so it should give businesses a much-needed rule of thumb early in the new year.
It’s worth recycling metal as much as possible, as it can be a valuable additional revenue stream for your business.
At J Davidson Scrap we work with domestic, commercial and industrial customers alike and can recycle ferrous metals like steel as well as handling non-ferrous metal recycling like aluminium.
To find out more, contact us today and we can help you work towards exceeding your metal recycling target rates for 2020 and beyond.