The future is circular

The use of renewable energies and efficiency improvements will only achieve part of the required reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling is also a vital factor in the equation. And that's where metals shine because their properties are a perfect fit for a sustainable circular economy.

The term circular economy refers to a sustainable economic model that aims to avoid waste and continuously uses resources. It involves reusing, sharing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling materials and products to create a closed-loop system and reduce the consumption of resources and minimize the generation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions. Metals are particularly suited to a circular economy as they are extremely durable and can theoretically be recycled an infinite number of times without making any compromises to their quality. Recycling indirectly avoids emissions in the extraction, processing and transport of ores and in primary metal production, while at the same time improving the availability of rare elements, especially in regions poor in raw materials.

Pushing recycling to the limits

In practice, losses in the form of energy, exergy or dissipation naturally occur in the product life cycle. These quantifiable losses are the benchmark for the technological and economic limits of the circular economy. It is our goal to push recycling rates to the thermodynamic and technological limits. 

Technology and trends for circular economy

The role of metals for a circular economy

An interview with Prof. Markus Reuter about the background to the concept and the opportunities and limitations of circular economy.

Recycling of copper and non-ferrous metals

The recycling of metals enables us to preserve natural resources compared to metal production lines using virgin raw materials.

Primobius lithium-ion-battery recycling

Primobius is a joint venture partnership between Australian company Neometals Ltd. and SMS group to commercialise an environmentally friendly recycling solution for end-of-life and scrap lithium-ion-battery (LiB) cells.

Selected references

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