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The scrap metal industry has until recently been tarred with a less than savoury reputation and with good reason, writes Nicola Guest, Marketing & Media Manager at Stevenage-based Alchemy Metals Ltd.
Cashless trading was introduced in 2012 and was swiftly followed by the 2013 Scrap Metal Dealers Act, introduced to combat the nations metal theft epidemic. Both have, in many areas, proven successful with metal theft reduced by between 40 per cent and 70pc in England and Wales – complacency should be avoided though; with the lack of police funding there is a real possibility that as metal prices rise, so too will the metal theft statistics and it is essential that scrap producers continue to store their materials in a secure location or container. The impact on industry attitude towards scrap metal merchants is just starting to show – loyalty was previously of huge importance but it is finally being questioned. Attitudes to poor service (which many turned a blind eye to when cash was readily available) are now changing.
Service is king – customers now rightly demand a comprehensive paper trail and a full health and safety assessment, all should insist on checking the credentials of the scrap purchaser – are they allowed to buy your metal scrap or is your company inadvertently feeding criminality by dealing with an unlicensed individual or organisation? Many are visiting their preferred scrap metal merchant, undertaking a full site audit to ensure the quality of company they are dealing with is appropriate.
Scrap is no longer ‘scrap’ in the traditional sense, it is now a valuable commodity adding value directly to a companies bottom line – savvy companies that work in industries where pricing is overly competitive will take into consideration the scrap value of the contract when quoting for new business – often giving them a clear advantage over competitors.
Pricing remains keen but for larger companies, their duty of care obligations are now of major importance, especially when ISO is taken into consideration. Smaller companies often remain unaware as to exactly what their duty of care obligations from the Environment Agency are – in the simplest of terms a producer of waste (including scrap metal) is responsible for ALL waste from cradle to grave, failure to adhere to the duty of care could leave a scrap producer with a potential Environment Agency prosecution, professional Scrap Metal Merchants should assist you in fulfilling and understanding your obligations – if, as a bare minimum your merchant is not providing you with paperwork the chances are that you may be breaching your duty of care.