“Norsk Hydro to acquire German aluminum recycler” – Recycling Today, 3 March 2015

Norwegian aluminum and renewable energy company Norsk Hydro is purchasing WMR Recycling GmbH, which, according to Hydro, means Hydro will be the leading entity in aluminum scrap sorting technology.

WMR utilizes x-ray transmission and other forward-thinking technology to sort scrap; the facility has the ability to sift through 36,000 metric tons of scrap annually. The aluminum scrap will also be used to provide material for Hydro’s other Europe-based recycling plants. Hydro will employ some of WMR’s technology to improve their Neuss, Germany-based used beverage can (UBC) plant so that it runs on a closed-loop recycling system.

Hydro recycled almost 1.1 million metric tons of aluminum in 2014, but now that number will surely climb. In 2013, Hydro was working with WMR to transfer some of its aluminum scrap supply to Hydro’s recycling facilities.

Hydro’s move will reflect Norway’s high appetite for a low carbon lifestyle, which will now be aided by an intensified recycling culture.

(From Recycling Today)

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

March 4, 2015

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“India Looks to New Policies to Promote Scrap Metal Recycling” – Metal Miner, 23 February 2015

India’s recycling rate is the one of the lowest in the world, hovering around 25%, while the US’s rate has climbed, now sitting at 90%. India’s recycling rate remains poor because the government is fairly indifferent, and because the population is unaware of the advantages of recycling. The country’s low recycling rate is a stressor on India’s primary production — constantly having to manufacture primary metals instead of recycling scrap has weakened India’s natural resources.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s main objective is to push India’s government to become generally proactive and organizations are beginning to take notice. The Metal Recycling Association of India has petitioned the government to create and enforce a metal recycling policy. Recently, there was a 2015 Metal Recycling Association of Indian International Conference in Mumbai, where the participants detailed what they believe India’s government should do to boost scrap recycling, including, “Remove the basic import duty of 5% on steel scrap, give it industry status, subsidize lending rates, allow Foreign Direct Investment and increase financing facilities,” which would make scrap recycling more attractive to bigger companies.

India is growing as a leader in the motor vehicles industries — the country is seventh-largest in the automobile industry and second-largest in two-wheeled vehicles, like scooters and motorcycles. Having a fluid recycling practice would let those industries develop even more in India. Currently, India’s stainless steel factories utilize 53% scrap in their manufacturing processes, while US factories use 76%.

For developing country like India with culture of “nothing goes wasted,” it is imperative that India extrapolates her recycling from “personal ” to “industrial.” India should look to developed countries to further understand how to advance its recycling system, so that it may take advantage of secondary materials, rather than constantly having to create primary materials, a harmful practice for the country.

(From Metal Miner)

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

April 3, 2015

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“Novelis Invests $48M in Automotive Aluminum Scrap Recycling Facility” – Environmental Leader, 30 January 2015

Last month, Novelis revealed that it has invested $48 million in its automotive aluminum scrap recycling facility. Novelis, the world’s largest flat-rolled aluminum maker, has recently entered the automotive industry by producing parts for auto companies that are shifting from steel to all-aluminum bodies. Novelis currently produces the aluminum that is used for the body and engines in Ford F-150 trucks.

The automotive aluminum scrap recycling facility employs a “closed loop” system, which will allow Novelis to reuse 20 million pounds of scrap every month. When the company manufactures aluminum coil, around 40% of the coil remains from the parts. Using the closed loop system, Novelis will gather the scrap and bring it back to the factory floor, where it will be reused again.

US automakers have been required to switch from steel to aluminum to comply with President Obama’s mandate that new cars must double their fuel economies by 2025. Ford F-150′s are now lighter — aluminum parts have already advanced the trucks’ fuel efficiency by 30 percent. Ford is slated to manufacture 850,000 of the trucks, which will call for 350,000 tons of aluminum sheeting.

In order to fill the supply gap for the automotive aluminum sheet market, several US and global producers have announced building of either greenfield construction or brownfield  expansions — mostly in new Detroit and southern states like Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

This trend will provide several business challenges and opportunities to gather, sort, and manufacture aluminum sheet alloys from recycled post-consumer scrap, including UBC, and will hopefully use recycle-friendly alloys.

(From Environmental Leader)

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

February 8, 2015

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“This company invented a better soda can. Why isn’t anybody buying?” – Grist, 30 October 2014

Less than a year after introducing the evercan, Novelis broke ground on a new multimillion dollar plant in Germany to manufacture the cans, which are made of 90 percent recycled aluminum. Novelis thought the evercan was a win-win for the company: the cans are cheaper to produce and more sustainable for the environment, since far less energy is used to produce recycled aluminum than virgin aluminum, a minimum of five percent.

With such advantages, it seems that the large beverage companies — Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, MillerCoors, etc. — would be chomping at the bit to get their hands on the evercan; however, these companies aren’t buying. The only company currently using the evercan is Georgia-based micro-brewer Red Hare Brewing Co. What’s even more odd is that Novelis’ aluminum supply is being purchased in spades by top automobile companies Ford and GM for their new lines of all-aluminum body cars.

But it seems that the beverage industry’s preferences are elsewhere. Besides the beverage companies’ hesitance to rely on one aluminum supplier, many of the companies, such as Coca-Cola, prefer PET plastic bottles to cans. Coca-Cola uses a bottle called a “plantbottle,” which is a PET bottle produced from sugar cane and sugar cane waste. The plantbottle makes up 60 percent of Coca-Cola’s worldwide sales. Moreover, the plantbottle is also resealable, which is a bonus for consumers.

Environmentally undesirable land filling, for obvious reasons, is a total waste of energy and valuable raw materials. Exporting lower value scrap is another way to export energy and valuable elements embedded in post-consumer aluminum products, only to come back to the US as more value added semi and fully finished products. This would adversely affect US trade balance.

Furthermore, economic incentives and societal consumer awareness supported by numerous newer scrap sorting technologies under development should limit land filling of scrap in US and reduce scrap export to countries like China.

If one beverage company vouches for the evercan, then perhaps other companies would follow suit. But more than that, the industries directly involved in recycling — aluminum, beverage, and waste — need to bolster their recycling actions so that Novelis has more material to work with.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

November 2, 2014

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