According to a report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), recycling rates of metals are in many cases far lower than their potential for reuse.
|Foto: © Daniel Ernst - Fotolia.com|
The weak performance is especially frustrating because, unlike some other resources, metals are inherently recyclable, says the study, released at the London Metal Exchange in the United Kingdom, and in Brussels at “Green Week” by Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP’s Executive Director. “In theory, metals can be used over and over again, minimizing the need to mine and process virgin materials and thus saving substantial amounts of energy and water while minimizing environmental degradation. Raising levels of recycling world-wide can therefore contribute to a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy while assisting to generate green jobs,” said Achim Steiner.
Life cycle thinking needed
Indeed, by some estimates recycling metals is between two and 10 times more energy efficient than smelting the metals from virgin ores. Meanwhile extraction alone currently accounts for seven per cent of the world’s energy consumption, with emissions contributing significantly to climate change. A separate report by the Panel, also released in Brussels, looks at “decoupling” economic growth rates from rates of resource use and notes that extraction of ores and minerals grew 27 fold during the 20th century – a rate higher than world economic growth. By 2050, humanity could devour an estimated 140 billion tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year – three times its current appetite – unless the economic growth rate is decoupled from the rate of natural resource consumption ...
Read more in the EU-Recycling issue 07/2011, page 30-31. Quelle: EU-Recycling / UNEP
Artikel vom: 29.06.2011 16:54