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Many moons ago, I attended a recycling convention outside of Europe and one of the programme’s sessions was entitled “Copper, never a dull moment”. Given the roller-coaster ride and many challenges facing us over the last couple of months, perhaps we should widen the thought to “Recycling, never a dull moment”. 

In the Benelux, people had started to enjoy their post-COVID freedoms. But boy, what a challenge we have in front of us today. Immediately before autumn and winter kick in, we are confronted with rising costs of energy and a potential scarcity in its availability. 

In the background, the Benelux zone is preparing itself for the fourth round of vaccination shots as COVID numbers are rising again. However, the debate about energy - one of Europe’s Achilles heels - has pushed itself to the forefront. Both industry and households are being impacted by the recent, rapid rises in energy costs. 

Our own micro world is not escaping this dance, with the entire recycling industry currently feeling the impact too. Over recent weeks, we have been witnessing, reading and hearing announcements about temporary closures, production cuts, energy surcharges, etc., at various levels of our industry and businesses linked to ours. Going forward, additional announcements of this nature can be expected. 

Consumers and processing yards are trying to deal with this challenge as best they can. Parallel to this, the overall flow of scrap into yards is not as smooth as before, creating a tighter availability of certain units in the Benelux market. Meanwhile, the announced production cuts are diminishing the appetite for certain materials on the one hand, while on the other this is supportive of stronger exports from Benelux.