Recycling Rates of Metals
“In theory, metals can be used over and over again, minimizing the need to mine and
process virgin materials and thus saving substantial amounts of energy and water while
minimizing environmental degradation. Raising levels of recycling world-wide can
therefore contribute to a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy
while assisting to generate ‘green jobs’”
UN Under Secretary-General Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director
Smarter product designs, support for developing country waste management schemes, and encouraging developed country households not to ‘squirrel away’ old electronic goods in drawers and closets could help boost recycling of metals world-wide.
According to this report, recycling rates of metals are in many cases far lower than their potential for reuse. Less than one-third of some 60 metals studied have an end-of-life recycling rate above 50 per cent and 34 elements are below 1 per cent recycling, yet many of them are crucial to clean technologies such as batteries for hybrid cars to the magnets in wind turbines, says the study.
“In spite of significant efforts in a number of countries and regions, many metal recycling rates are discouragingly low, and a ‘recycling society’ appears no more than a distant hope,” states the Recycling Rates of Metals: A Status Report, compiled by UNEP’s International Resource Panel.
Press Release - English (PDF)
Press Release - French (PDF)