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Strong growth for China’s non-ferrous metals recycling

Preliminary estimates suggest China’s production of major recycled non-ferrous metals in 2023 totalled 17.6 million tons for a year-on-year increase of 6.34%, including 3.85 million tons of recycled copper (+2.67% compared to 2022), 9.5 million tons of recycled aluminium (+9.83%), 2.95 million tons of recycled lead (+3.51%) and 1.3 million tons of recycled zinc (unchanged from 2022).

Domestic recycling of non-ferrous scrap by metal quantity saw a steady increase to 14.5 million tons. Imports of recycled copper and brass raw materials climbed to 1.9 million tons while incoming volumes of recycled casting aluminium alloy raw materials increased to 1.7 million tons.

From 2021 to 2023, the annual compound growth rates (CAGRs) for recycled non-ferrous metals production and for domestic recycling were around 5.8% and 3.7%, respectively. For imports of recycled copper/brass raw materials and recycled casting aluminium alloy raw materials, the CAGRs were, in turn, around 6% and 28%.