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A few weeks ago we were sent a copy of a 12 page A5 booklet offering ‘Guidance regarding new acceptance criteria for bulk UK ferrous scrap to improve quality and Safety throughout the supply chain’ and I thought to myself, ‘Here we go again with more Health and Safety red tape’.

The booklet has been produced by the BMRA, British Metal Recycling Association and I owe them a huge apology for my ignorance.  At first I didn’t even look inside, I just put it back down on my desk and read the letter that was included with it.  It was from emr (European Metal Recycling Ltd), the company we use to responsibly recycle all of Solar Solve’s metallic waste; mainly aluminium, which we separate and ‘bag’ before taking it to their scrap yard.  We have very little ferrous waste and so my inclination was to just have the booklet filed away, unread.

As I picked it up again to file, I decided to have a quick flick through it to see what they were going on about.  After less than 10 seconds looking at just some of the many photos, I realised that it was actually an extremely important document.  So important that I read the whole thing, which took less than 10 minutes but had a huge impact on me and my attitude towards scrap metal dealers, as I have always called them.

I was so intrigued by the BMRA and especially the astoundingly dangerous items that totally insane, idiotic people include in their scrap, for recyclers to dispose of, that I checked out their website and learned lots more.

The British Metals Recycling Association is the trade association representing the staggering £7 billion UK Metal Recycling sector.  It also gives advice on how businesses and householders should sell or dispose of their scrap metal, reminding everyone that it is now illegal in the UK to sell scrap metal for cash and not before time in my opinion.

Some of the information in the Guide I mentioned, that I found mindboggling, includes pressurised oxygen and other gas cylinders of all sizes; munitions, mines, mortar and tank shells; lithium-ion and every other conceivable type of battery and much more besides.  In the past they have all just been dumped into waste ferrous products that were moved around in bulk via tipper lorries, grabs, hydraulic shovels.  Anyone could be seriously injured or killed at any time in such dangerous circumstances.

According to the website, BMRA members will apparently accept just about anything, to be recycled or disposed of, if the scrap yard or recycling facility has the appropriate facilities and licences, but items must be delivered or made ready for collection in identifiable batches that can then be moved and disposed of in safety.

I am sure that most readers will agree with me that it is just common sense and this is one incidence of Health and Safety legislation at its very best.  No doubt the employees who work in scrap metal yards will see these new regulations as hugely stress relieving and the yards’ owners will look upon the implementation of them as a great example of Employee Fatigue Management.

There is a link to the BMRA New Release about the Guide here ( and it contains a link to a pdf of the actual booklet.

The emr (European Metal Recycling Ltd) website can be found here (

Photos of some of the problematic items that the new regulations are aimed at are shown below….

JHL MBE SSL Co. Chairman