HSE – Transition period: chemicals update

The UK Transition period will end on 1 January 2021.

Businesses working with chemicals need to ensure they are prepared for the end of the transition period.

The most up to date guidance on how businesses based in Great Britain and Northern Ireland can prepare for the end of the transition period is available on the HSE webpages:

  • For guidance on the BPR regime
  • For guidance on the CLP regime
  • For the guidance on the PIC regime
  • For guidance on the UK REACH regime

The GB guidance for the PPP regime remains valid. Further updates to the PPP guidance will be published shortly.

Get access to the UK Transition: Working with Chemicals podcast series

HSE is hosting a series of podcasts to provide more information on the changes to how chemicals will be regulated from 1 January 2021.

Subscribe here for free access and help your business prepare for the end of the transition period.

Chair – NFE/35 Light metals and their alloys

We are very pleased that our Technical Manager Jan Lukaszewski has been re-appointed as the Chair of NFE/35 Light metals and their alloys by the BSI’s Standards and Policy Strategy Committee (SPSC).

ALFED's technical manager Jan Lukaszewski

ALFED’s technical manager Jan Lukaszewski

The BSI committee Chairs undertake an important function on behalf of the UK National Standards Body (NSB). BSI’s role as the NSB is to support the needs of business, industry, consumers, government and all other stakeholders in respect of voluntary standards, ensuring open public consultation and full stakeholder engagement, in line with the principles of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The consensus process lies at the heart of BSI’s work and their Chairs are key to ensuring an effective and efficient delivery from their committee network.

For any queries regarding this committee please contact Jan direct: j_lukaszewski@alfed.org.uk.

Aluminium is a lightweight and endlessly recyclable material

Aluminium is a lightweight and endlessly recyclable material and it is a key contributor to the low-carbon economy. Its role will continue to Aluminium is a lightweight and endlessly recyclable materialexpand, from replacing single-use plastics to supporting more sustainable transport. Therefore, the aluminium sector is key to the Government’s green growth strategy and carbon neutral vision.

We are helping Government formulate an ambitious yet viable green agenda for industry. Working with Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), we are contributing to a clear, consistent strategic plan that brings together the many green strategies already developed. We are advising on a roadmap that ensures organisations have guidance, support and incentives to achieve the UK’s many green growth objectives.

Going forward, the aluminium industry looks to be a flexible, cost-effective and sustainable partner within upstream and downstream supply chains. And we look to develop new technologies and processes that promote a more competitive and low-carbon UK industrial base. From training and knowledge sharing to collaborating with Government and wider industry, we are helping members and stakeholders find the best solutions for the future.

Porosity and the mechanical properties of aluminium alloys

Porosity and the Mechanical Properties of Aluminium Alloys Aluminium alloys are extremely susceptible to weld metal porosity. This is TIG-welded-aluminiumparticularly associated with rejection of hydrogen from the solidifying weld pool, and there is substantial published literature on the sources of hydrogen, on the mechanism of pore formation, and on the roles of material and welding variables.

Find out more about the effects of porosity on yield and tensile strength, ductility and fatigue properties by following the link below: Porosity and the mechanical properties of aluminium alloys



UK set for EV explosion after government declaration

The government have brought forward their ban on the sale of diesel and petrol cars to 2030, as the UK bids to become the second all-electric motoring country behind Norway.

Originally 2040 was mentioned, then 2035, but now the cut-off point is just under a decade away as Prime Minister Boris Johnson sets about putting his ‘green revolution’ in motion.

As of the end of October this year, Electric Vehicles (EVs) accounted for just over 6 per cent of car sales in 2020 (76,000 vehicles), mainly due to concerns of customers over the cost and the limited range capabilities of EVs.

To go from that low mark to 100 per cent will take some doing, but the government has pledged £2.8 billion to ensure the target is met.

Investment in the installation of more charging points and the development of mass-sale EV battery production in the UK will take place as part of a wider plan to make the UK carbon-neutral by 2050.

Businesses looking to install charging points on site have a number of hurdles to overcome, but from initial scoping through to installation, Energy Management has the expertise to help smooth over the process.

For more information on EV support, please contact a member of the team on 01225 867722.

Source: Energy Management

A world without waste: the rise of urban mining

The ‘urban mine’ can help transform the UK economy and support businesses of all kinds to meet their carbon reduction targets, explains Roger Morton, Managing Director for Technology and Innovation at EMR Metal Recycling. 

Urban mining is a philosophy that sees the material we recycle not as waste but as a valuable resource that can help us save the planet and keep valuable materials right here in the UK.

At EMR we ‘mine’ the metals and plastics we recycle. These arrive from a huge range of sources that would otherwise be disposed as waste, including end-of-life vehicles, redundant buildings, industrial, commercial and domestic waste and even ships and oil rigs. Our work avoids the need to use virgin material taken out of the ground. And, the best news is, this can be more efficient and much less carbon intensive than conventional mining.

One great example of a material we can ‘mine’ in this way is copper. I started my career working at a large open-cast copper mine in Southern Africa. We were mining copper deposits containing just 0.5 percent copper. This copper was present as copper sulphate and we had to sift enormous amounts of ‘overburden’ – the term for the 99.5 percent of rock that isn’t copper sulphate. Processing then smelting the remaining material, generated large quantities of sulphuric acid.


Roger Morton, Managing Director for Technology and Innovation at EMR Metal Recycling

That mine is now exhausted and the open pit operations have closed.

Thanks to urban mining, EMR makes use of a resource that arrives at our door containing substantially more copper than in that copper mine, without  the production of sulphuric acid.

In the long term, it will be even more important to re-use metals like copper, nickel, cobalt and others, as the mineable metals available will continue to run out over the next century. The Copper Alliance says current proven reserves of copper will run out in 46 years at our current rate of usage. The World 7 model, meanwhile, predicts global supplies of nickel will essentially run out by 2130.

We are planning for that future now.

Our economy has already started to respond. According to Fraunhofer ISI, in 2015, around half of the 3.7million tonnes of copper used by the EU came from recycled sources.

With the help of urban mining activities like those spearheaded by EMR, we will continue to increase this rate – not just for copper, but for other high-value metals such as titanium, nickel and cobalt as well as steel and aluminium.

In many ways, urban mining is what recycling companies have always done. What has changed over the past 15 years is that technology has advanced incredibly fast. This has been driven by technical innovations in metal recycling but also in plastic recycling. Techniques such as near infrared and X-Ray spectroscopy have transformed the yields we’re able to extract from waste.

And we’re utilising technological advances from across the economy. At EMR we have been following the engineering innovations in the mining and coal processing industries, as well as in food processing. The tech that helps farmers separate carrots or grains can be used in our sector to improve our urban mining efforts.

Still, the UK faces major challenges if we are to remain a leader in urban mining. To return to the example of copper, it can be tempting for suppliers to use virgin copper by default because it is all in one place – in the copper mine – while the copper we extract is spread across the waste materials that we process. Also, the mines process huge amounts of copper – worldwide more than 400,000 tonnes each week, according to Statista – so they have the economies of scale.

One of the benefits of EMR is that we operate on a large scale too. We have over 60 sites across the UK and operations in USA, Germany and the Netherlands, all collecting material. Our size means we can consolidate our processes and make the investments needed to compete. We are developing sophisticated methods to capture the tiniest quantities of rare-earth metals and other strategic materials from the waste stream, which we can send straight to a smelter to be turned into useful products once more.

This is a much shorter recovery route with a much better carbon impact. At EMR we are passionate about reducing our carbon footprint with ambitious goals to cut our emissions in the next decade – part of Our Decade of Action strategy – and a target to become net zero by 2040. Embracing the urban mine means we can also help those up and down the supply chain to reduce their environmental impacts.

So, what’s next? If the UK is going to fully utilise all of the high-value material in our waste, then all parts of the supply chain need to be on board, with industries including technology firms and manufacturers designing their products so recycling companies, like EMR, can increase our yields and ensure more of the materials we throw away can contribute to the next generation of products.

There’s lots of interesting initiatives happening in this area in the UK and across Europe and for all product types. An example is CEFLEX, a major collaboration between all the parts of the supply chain on flexible packaging. Most flexible packaging (including crisp packets and cereal bags) is made of six or seven layers of plastic. The CEFLEX initiative involves collaboration between brands, packaging converters, product designers, retailers, waste companies and recyclers to simplify flexible packaging design to make it more recyclable. https://ceflex.eu/

We need to follow the same approach in industries like automotive, electrical equipment and construction to minimise the range of material we use and to make it easier to separate and dismantle. One way in which EMR is already leading in this effort is with RECOVAS, a new government-funded partnership with other recyclers and some of the world’s biggest car manufacturers – including BMW, Bentley Motors and Jaguar Land Rover and Warwick University – to create an end-of-life supply chain for electric vehicle batteries. It is already clear that electric cars will be one of the most important technologies as the UK moves towards net zero by 2050. By capturing, or even reusing, the valuable components of these vehicles, partnerships like RECOVAS will take these efforts to make our lives more sustainable to the next level.

If we get this right, the concept of the urban mine is going to change the world for the better. At EMR we’re proud to be at the heart of this transformation.

For more information on EMR:

Visit our website at emrgroup.com

We are very pleased to welcome Heraeus Noblelight into membership of the Aluminium Federation

Heraeus Noblelight joins ALFED

We are very pleased to welcome Heraeus Noblelight into membership of the Aluminium Federation. Heraeus, the technology group headquartered in Hanau, Germany, is a leading international family-owned portfolio company. The company’s roots go back to a family pharmacy started in 1660.

Today, the Heraeus group includes businesses in the environmental, electronics, health and industrial applications sectors. Customers benefit from innovative technologies and solutions based on broad materials expertise and technological leadership.

The origins of Heraeus Noblelight are to be found in the Heraeus Organization in the year 1899. With a background of many decades of experience, Heraeus now develops, manufactures and markets a wide range of infrared and ultraviolet emitters and components, which find application in all important sectors and areas of industry.


We are very pleased to welcome Ultromex into membership of the Aluminium Federation

We are very pleased to welcome Ultromex into membership of the Aluminium Federation. Ultromex provides vital technologies to the aluminium smelting industry to help it deal with its production wastes.

The company was founded in 2011 by a team with extensive experience in the chemicals industry, metals recovery, plant design and construction sectors. The aims of the company are to develop new sustainable technologies to manage aluminium industry production wastes. These wastes are often hazardous and difficult to treat, so effective and sustainable ways to deal with them are vital to the industry and to society, which relies on aluminium for many thousands of useful products.

The Ultromex approach helps to reduce landfill and cuts the carbon footprint of the smelting operation by reducing the need to transport and sometimes export waste materials to other facilities for treatment and recycling, whilst at the same time significantly improving operational security, profit margins and bottom-line profits.


HSE Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) eBulletin

The latest Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) eBulletin, which focuses on the key topic of competence.

It includes details, and further links to guidance on the legal responsibilities associated with protecting your workforce, training employees, and purchasing LEV equipment.

The content is relevant to employers, employees, and suppliers of LEV so please share this information as widely as possible to protect all those working in the industry.

Read more: HSE Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) eBulletin