Drivers and constraints of critical materials recycling : the case of indium
Ylä-Mella, Jenni; Pongrácz, Eva
Ylä-Mella, J.; Pongrácz, E. Drivers and Constraints of Critical Materials Recycling: The Case of Indium. Resources 2016, 5, 34
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Raw material criticality studies are receiving increasing attention because an increasing number of elements of great economic importance, performing essential functions face high supply risks. Scarcity of key materials is a potential barrier to large-scale deployment of sustainable energy and clean-tech technologies as resorting to several critical materials. As physical scarcity and geopolitical issues may present a barrier to the supply of critical metals, recycling is regarded as a possible solution to substitute primary resources for securing the long-term supply of critical metals. In this paper, the main drivers and constraints for critical materials recycling are analyzed from literature, considering indium as a case study of critical materials. This literature review shows that waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) could be a future source of critical metals; however, the reduction of dissipation of critical materials should have much higher priority. It is put forward that more attention should be paid to sustainable management of critical materials, especially improved practices at the waste management stage. This calls for not only more efficient WEEE recycling technologies, but also revising priorities in recycling strategies.
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