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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.

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Summary

Precious and Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) are widely used in different kinds of products. Their applications include, for example, transportation vehicles, electric and electronics products, low-carbon energy technologies and different industrial applications. Typically, CRMs are contained in components with high-performance requirements. Therefore, they are critical for the functioning of the product. From the recycling point of view, the challenge is that these materials are mostly used in small amounts in complex structures.

English

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