Critical metals in end-of-life products

Recovery potential and opportunities for removal of bottlenecks of recycling

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Critical raw materials (CRM) are used in various applications in different sectors, and their consumption will likely further increase in future. The threats caused by their limited availability and high prices have led to discussion on more efficient use of the resources available. The enhanced recycling of critical raw materials could be a significant opportunity for the Nordic countries.This report focuses on the recycling potential of wastes containing CRMs, analyses of the bottlenecks of recycling, and identifies potential policy instruments to eliminate the barriers or reduce their impact. In order to enhance sustainable recycling, the Nordic countries should improve knowledge of CRM availability, develop new recycling strategies, support demonstration and selected R&D actions, and strengthen Nordic influence on the development of European legislation and standards.



Current status and bottlenecks of recycling

This chapter presents the current status of recycling of CRMs in the target end-of life products, identifies the key bottlenecks of recycling (and reuse) of the selected products, and briefly describes their reasons and impacts. Bottlenecks are defined as factors that limit the performance and efficiency of recycling or reuse of the products and thus prevent or limit the move towards a near zero-waste value chain and circular economy. The bottleneck analysis of ELV and WEEE sectors carried out as a part of the European project NEW_InnoNet (http://www.newinnonet.eu/) (NEW_InnoNet D2.5 by Bachér et al. 2016) has been utilized as a basis. In addition, literature describing the bottlenecks of recycling of lighting products and batteries has been reviewed. The bottlenecks identified by experts in the project workshop have also been considered, especially in Sections 4.1.2 and 4.3.2


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