Mar. 9 -- As an integral part of China's energy-saving and environment protection mission, the resources recycling industry, chiefly represented by nonferrous metals recycling, has been listed as one of China's strategic emerging industries.
However, the growth of China's nonferrous metal recycling industry is quite slow, due mainly to inefficient recycling systems, restrictions on imports of raw materials, and the comparatively limited capacity of domestic companies in the field, observed experts.
Industry insiders believed that nonferrous metals recycling industry is promising in China, though there are still some factors limiting its development now.
-- Crucial period for development
The recycling of resources such as nonferrous metals has become an inevitable choice of the country to meet the fast expanding demand for resources driven by its rapid economic development.
Liu Qiang, vice chairman of China National Resources Recycling Association (CRRA), pointed out that the development of nonferrous metals recycling offers a key to alleviating the present pressure on resources shortages and to ensure the security of resources.
China's demand for resources expands day by day. It is estimated that the country's combined consumption of four basic metals ? copper, aluminum, lead, and zinc ? will reach 43.80 million metric tons (tonnes) by the end of 2015, at a rapid annual growth rate of 7.33 percent. The country's dependence on metals imports has also been growing dramatically, according to Liu.
Qiu Dingfan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, holds that the recycling of nonferrous metal can not only save resources and lower energy consumption, but generate considerable profits and tax revenues, as well as abundant employment opportunities.
According to Qiu, several developed countries have realized nonferrous metals recycling. And China actually enjoys some unique advantages, since many varieties of nonferrous metals that China lacks, including copper, aluminum, lead, and zinc, are comparatively easy to be recycled.
China's nonferrous metals recycling industry has begun to take shape after years of development. The proportion of recycled nonferrous metals to the country's total output has been growing during the past five years. The output of recycled metals stood at 6.33 million tonnes in 2009, a surge of 19.4 percent year on year.
In the meantime, the recycling of nonferrous metals still has huge potential for further development given that the current ratio of its output to the country's total metal consumption remains at only about 20 to 25 percent, whereas the ratio for developed countries generally exceeds 50 percent.
-- Three limiting factors
1) Poor public awareness and inadequate government support
Despite the development plan and guidance issued by the central government, the importance of developing the nonferrous metals recycling industry has just been hardly noticed by the public. Moreover, the government has provided insufficient support in terms of land usage, financing, and taxation, failing to offer a favorable environment for the metals recycling industry to flourish.
2) Deficient raw materials recycling system
At present, large amounts of waste resources can not be fully utilized because of the current inadequate arrangements for domestic raw material recycling.
3) Limited capacity of domestic metal recyclers
Currently China has more than 100,000 companies dedicated to the recycling of resources, with a huge network of about 200,000 recycling stations. However, the average production capacity is only about 30 to 50 million tonnes.
-- More favorable policy support expected
Strong government support will undoubtedly serve as an effective catalyst to speed up the overall development of the nonferrous metals recycling industry. A more detailed industrial development plan at all levels of the government is thus strongly anticipated. Suitable recycling systems are also expected to be set up and those that exist made more efficient as a matter of urgency. After all, the recycling of resources is of special significance not only to one single country, but the sustainable development of the whole world.