Will the UK be the first country in the world with a fully circular steel and aluminium economy?

The UKRI’s National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research (NICER) Programme is working towards making circular economies for the UK’s textiles, minerals, chemicals, and metals industries. With £30 million funding, their research aims to enable the UK to have the world’s first fully circular economy for steel and aluminium by 2050 as part of the government’s efforts to achieve Net Zero.

What is a circular economy?

A circular economy is a method of production that involves the recovery, repair, re-use, recycling, and remanufacturing of materials to make them last as long as possible in order to reduce the need to produce brand new materials and minimise waste. A fully circular economy means that no new raw materials are mined from the Earth and no materials are wasted at the end, so everything gets fed back into the system to be used again – like a closed loop.

Why is it important?

In a linear economy, resources are made into products which become waste after they’re used. In a circular economy, this waste is recycled back into the production cycle so fewer new natural resources are needed – this means far less is thrown away.

Not only is a circular economy far more cost-saving and efficient in the long term, but it also massively reduces the environmental impact of that industry. Producing metal requires a lot of energy and causes greenhouse gases and pollution. A circular metal economy would require far less energy and natural resources – making it far more sustainable.

A circular steel and aluminium economy will help reduce our contribution to climate change.

About the NICER Programme and CircularMetal

Part of the NICER Programme is CircularMetal – a research centre focusing on the two most widely used metals – steel and aluminium – led by Brunel University London with support from the University of Warwick and University College London. Their work involves analysis of the metal manufacturing process to find areas for improvement, developing new technologies to enhance the process, and taking a broad look at circular business models to ultimately eliminate the need for raw material mining.

On the basis that by 2050 our population will have grown so much and our use of existing materials so extensive that we won’t have enough natural resources left in the Earth to meet global demand, they’re trying to revolutionise our manufacturing system to prepare for this impending crisis. The metals industry has a huge knock-on effect on almost every other industry, making their work vital.

Not only are these changes to the industry imperative to avoid serious industrial and economic catastrophe, researchers also believe that these innovations will actually be highly lucrative. Through their work they aim to add £100 billion to the UK economy over the next decade – an incredible return on investment!

How do we fit into the metal recycling process here at Singleton’s Scrap Metal?

At Singleton’s we love being part of an industry that does even a small part to help to fight climate change. We send scrap metal off to be recycled and this helps to reduce the demand on natural resources.

We have an easy drive-through service for anyone looking to sell scrap metal – we’ll weigh and evaluate your scrap so we can pay you there and then. One of the fantastic things about the growing demand for recycled metals is that we can offer excellent prices for scrap metal. After you’ve sold it to us, your scrap will then get sent off to be recycled so it can be reused – a win for you and a win for the environment!

Find out more about our convenient scrap metal drive through service in Manchester.


Back to all blog posts