The contribution foundries make to the circular economy is even greater than originally thought, thanks to efficient production methods and recycling of a host of materials, confirms the latest census of the UK castings industry.
Cast metals companies already contribute to the circular economy, taking scrap metal and re-using it to make new highly engineered components through liquid metal engineering. “We know that the UK is a net exporter of steel scrap for instance, but this is a valuable and permanent resource (since metals are infinitely recyclable and retain their inherent value) that we can take advantage of and should not squander. The fact that scrap metal, both ferrous and non-ferrous, is derived from so many sources, including cars at the end of their life, as well as reinforced steel from demolished buildings and waste from other metals processing operations such as pressing and machining, confirms the vital role that our foundries are playing in taking this ‘scrap’ and re-processing it – otherwise it would have to be exported or disposed of in some other way,” said Pam Murrell, CEO of the Cast Metals Federation (CMF) at the recent launch of the UK Casting Industry Census, published by CMF. “With internal scrap levels of less than 5% and customer returns of 1.14%, our census has confirmed that UK foundries are running efficient companies, with close control of their operations.”
It is not just metal that is re-used – internal sand reclamation by sand foundries is also almost 48%. “Whist this is a good figure, it also represents an opportunity,” states Mike Naylor, MD of Durham Foundry Ltd. “We know that more sand could be re-used both internally in foundries but also as a raw material for other industries, such as in construction or for other building and infrastructure projects. It is often an area that is overlooked when thinking about foundries, but the contribution that the casting sector makes to the circular economy is something that we can celebrate.”