International Nickel
Study Group

Recycling and Environmental issues

Recycling of Nickel Containing Products

Industry experts estimate that nickel bearing scrap totaling 4.4-4.6 million tonnes per year is collected and recycled. This scrap is estimated to contain almost 350,000t of nickel (or one-quarter of the total demand) annually which is mainly used by the stainless steel industry. The nickel scrap processing industry consists of four or five major companies operating on an international level to ensure that nickel bearing scrap is collected from every corner of the globe. Most of the scrap is stainless steel scrap, resulting from the demolition of obsolete factories, machinery and equipment and consumer goods.

Environmental issues

All metals and metal compounds have a certain level of toxicity and may cause adverse effects on living organisms. Nickel in certain forms and under particular circumstances, may generate detrimental environmental (including health and safety) effects, notwithstanding the fact that it is considered to be a vital element for public health by some scientists.

Growing concern on environmental matters worldwide stimulated several countries and/or international organisations to regulate metals uses, including nickel, according to their chemical and physical features and properties and possible adverse effects that their various applications may cause. Existing as well as new regulations are aimed at protecting workers and consumers (public health approach) whereas others focus on the protection of the environment (ecological approach).

Regulations on occupational exposure limits intend to protect workers in various industries, while legislation on classification, packaging and labelling of products aims to inform the public on possible adverse health effects. To protect the environment, emission levels for various products have been introduced.

INSG maintains a database of information on regulatory issues affecting nickel to inform its member countries on existing and new legislations and the possible consequences for nickel production and consumption.


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