If the world is to limit the worst impacts of climate change, manufacturers are going to have to think harder about the sustainability of the materials they use.
During the two week COP26 summit in Glasgow which took place in early November, leading metal recycler EMR Metal Recycling worked to put this issue high on the agenda for businesses everywhere.
“At EMR we are excited to play our role in creating a circular economy and we are committed to helping our customers to achieve their sustainable ambitions,” says Ian Sheppard, Managing Director of Metal Recycling at EMR.
As consumers increasingly want to make sustainable choices when buying homes, cars and other products, the challenge facing EMR is to create recycled metals which can perform to the high specifications that manufacturers require as they start to decarbonise.
EMR has a track record of re-investing its profits into innovation and its team of expert engineers are working hard to develop new processes and provide the supply chain with the high-purity recycled metals it needs to create high performance green steel and green aluminium.
Ian says; “These metals aren’t cheap to produce but the demand for them is growing. Developing these materials will be crucial to the business model of recyclers as we head towards a nature positive and net-zero future.”
As the UK looks to raise the proportion of recycled metal it uses – and therefore limit the nature-depleting high-carbon impact mining of virgin material – recyclers such as EMR are looking to further exploit the ‘urban mine’. This is the valuable material that already exists in our waste stream which can be reused far more sustainably than virgin metals.
And EMR is also leading in the recovery and recycling of plastic waste, Ian says: “Through our plastic recycling business, MBA Polymers UK, EMR is supplying manufacturers in many sectors with innovative recycled materials that will help reduce the carbon impact of their products.”
As the transition to using more sustainable products speeds up in the years ahead, it is likely that it will lead to the creation of shorter supply chains. This means more valuable materials stay close to the markets where they are used, providing businesses such as EMR with an exciting challenge.
“After years of sending our materials across the world for processing, it’s now possible that in this emerging circular economy, EMR will supply a higher proportion of its recycled metals closer to home” says Ian. “This will create new opportunities for EMR but it will also create new jobs and new businesses in manufacturing across the economy.”
This is why EMR is so focused on meeting the challenges of creating a sustainable economy. And supplying more recycled material to make the products of the future, is how it plans to get there.