Assessing Mineral Resources in Society: Metal recycling - Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure - Summary

United Nations Environment Programme ; International Resource Panel (2013)

A Product-Centric approach is necessary to promote metals recycling in the 21st century. This means the application of economically viable technology and methods throughout the recovery chain to extract metals from the complex interlinkages within designed “minerals”, i. e. products, derived from the thorough know-how of recovering metals from complex geological minerals. These products can be regarded as designed “minerals”, which provide the basis for recycling as geological minerals provide the basis for extracting metals from minerals. Adaptive and robust recycling and metallurgical infrastructure, systems and technology as well as thorough knowledge are essential to gain economic success and the required resource efficiency. It is therefore essential to use and evolve existing thorough economically viable metallurgical process knowledge and infrastructure. Both are available in the primary and secondary metals processing industry, which thus needs to be preserved in order to allow for the most resource efficient recycling of increasingly complex End-of-Life products.