Aluminum producers are facing possible market share losses if they cannot find ways to meet strict carbon dioxide emission standards. Oliver Bell, executive VP of rolled products at Norsk Hydro ASA said that aluminum, while a lightweight metal, is “still perceived as energy intensive,” which has done little to entice buyers to invest.
The difficulty is that scrap metal markets are becoming increasingly tighter, and scrap aluminum cannot sustain long-term growth. While the goal of higher environmental sustainability is a noble one, Bell said companies like his cannot rely solely on this industry practice, or they will never stay afloat. To this end, he and others in the industry are working to convince potential buyers of the advantages of aluminum, rather than solely promoting recycling.
Bell also noted that the life cycle of aluminum products differs from that of other metals: aluminum cans can be recycled and put back into use quickly, but aluminum used for buildings or automotive parts can take longer to reintegrate, as they have a longer life cycle. Therefore, companies must be aligned in their message: recycle where applicable, and continue to streamline primary production rate.
“We need an increased recycling rate and primary production rate,” said Bell.
Quotes and overview from American Metals Market