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British public miss out on valuable income stream survey finds

13 February 2019

A recent survey showed that the British public could be missing out on a valuable income stream that is metal recycling.

Only 32 per cent of the British public said they would sell scrap metal to a metal recycling company often known as a scrap metal company.

A survey undertaken by one of the world’s leading metal recycling companies, EMR, shows that sixty-five per cent of the British public would take their metal waste to a local council tip or recycling centre instead of selling to a metal recycling company. A worrying one per cent said they would fly tip it and eight per cent would pay someone external to take it away.

EMR’s UK Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Brady said: “As one of the UK’s leading metal and plastics recyclers, we strongly believe that one of our key roles is to promote the need for all metal to be recycled.

“Whilst it is encouraging to see that such a high percentage of the general public seem to be making the journey to a local council recycling centre to dispose of their waste metal, it is concerning that so few would consider selling it to a metal recycling company and generate some income from it.

“We want the general public to be aware that most metal recycling companies would welcome their business and many, such as ourselves have tried to make the yards themselves more welcoming.

“This is a massive missed opportunity for the British public and it is easier than ever to sell your waste metal to EMR and other metal recyclers. Not only do you get peace of mind that your metal is recycled efficiently, you receive money for it.”

EMR recycles around 10 million tonnes of metal each year, which saves around 10 million tonnes of CO2 compared to using virgin ores. The company can recycle anything from a toaster to an aircraft carrier, but if you have one of the latter EMR would probably like to talk to you first!

The metal recycling industry has long been a vital sector for the UK economy and it remains so today. All metals used today can be recycled into new metal products some with 60 days of being recycled*. The use of recycled metals not only minimises CO2 emissions but has a direct impact on preserving natural resources.

 “With over 70 sites around the country, we can serve most areas of the UK, and our service offering ranges from ferrous metals (metal containing iron), non ferrous metals (everything else) to end of life vehicles. It is time for the UK to put our planet first and realise that all metal can be recycled. Any course of action that results in the metal being reused works for us – but why not benefit financially? The priority for us is to influence those who may not consider recycling it in one form or another,” Andrew added. 

*Fox, Kathryn (2019), The Momentum of Metal Cans. Available at: 
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12 - 15 October 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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