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Zusammenhänge zwischen Circular Economy und Rohstoffkritikalität

: Tercero Espinoza, Luis A.

Thomé-Kozmiensky, Elisabeth (Hrsg.):
Recycling und Sekundärrohstoffe. Bd.13
Nietwerder: TK Verlag, 2020
ISBN: 978-3-944310-51-0
ISBN: 3-944310-51-9
Book Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()

Modern society requires a wide variety of raw materials to provide the goods and services that underlie daily life. In this paper, I explore issues around the Circular Economy (CE) - meant to make the most out of extracted raw materials - and how it might support security of supply as expressed by the concept of critical raw materials (CRM). Seen from the perspective of security of raw materials criticality, key elements of raw materials criticality are: first, the diversity of supply in primary production; second, the flexibility to provide a given function with different raw materials; and third, sizeable secondary supply. For a circular economy, it is not important whether primary raw materials are sourced from few or from many different countries/regions. Therefore, there is no synergy - but also no conflict of goals - at this stage. Both CE and CRM partly coincide regarding design of products. In this area, CRM is concerned primarily with using raw materials that are seen as less critical. This aspect is not central to CE. However, CE measures to increase longevity of products and their recyclability do contribute to ameliorating raw materials criticality indirectly. Finally, recycling of end-of-life products is important for both CE and CRM such that initiatives to increase recycling will contribute both to a better use of resources in a more circular economy and to a more secure supply of raw materials.