Metal Recycling

Metal Recycling

Metal Recycling

320 Pages ·2013·10.32 MB ·English

Metal Recycling

A key question that relates to the


very broad and intensive use of


metals is whether society needs


to be concerned about long-term


supplies of any or many of them.


This is a many-faceted question


that cannot be answered quickly


or unequivocally. To address it,


M


the Global Metal Flows Group


For more information, contact: etal


envisions a series of six reports,


Resource Panel Secretariat


R


of which this is the second-b one UNEP DTIE ecycling


addressing opportunities, limits Sustainable Consumption


and Production Branch


and infrastructure for metal recy- Opportunities, Limits,


15 rue de Milan


cling. This report follows the IRP’s 75441 Paris CEDEX 09 Infrastructure


fi rst report on recycling, which France


has demonstrated the status quo Tel: +33 1 44 37 14 50


Fax: +33 1 44 37 14 74


of global recycling rates for sixty


E-mail: resourcepanel@unep.org


metals.


www.unep.org/resourcepanel


Product-Centric recycling is dis-


cussed in this report by acknowl-


edged experts. This approach


is considered to be an essential


enabler of resource effi ciency by


increasing recycling rates. Due


to complex functionality, modern


products contain complex mixes


of almost any imaginable metal,


material and compound. This re-


port provides a techno-economic,


product design and physics basis


to address the challenges of recy-


E


cling these increasingly complex


M


products in the 21st century. M


A


R


G


O


R


Published in April 2013


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E


M


N


O


R


I


V


N


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S


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O


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ISBN: 978-92-807-3267-2 I


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DTI/1535/PA U Acknowledgments


Editor: International Resource Panel, Working Group on the Global Metal Flows


Lead author: Markus Reuter


Authors: Markus Reuter, Outotec Oyj, Finland and Aalto University, Finland; Christian Hudson, DIW, Germany; Antoinette van Schaik,


MARAS, Netherlands; Kari Heiskanen, Aalto University, Finland; Christina Meskers, Umicore, Belgium and Christian Hagelüken, Umicore,


Germany.


Contributors (Alphabetical): Helmut Antrekowitsch, University Leoben, Austria; Diran Apelian, WPI, USA; Bo Bjorkman, Luleå University of About the UNEP Division of Technology,


Technology, Sweden; Bart Blanpain, Leuven University, Belgium; Françoise Bodenan, BRGM, France; Mieke Campforts, Umicore, Belgium; Industry and Economics


Amélia Enríquez, UNEP, Brazil; Bernd Friedrich RWTH Aachen, Germany; Stefan Gössling-Reisemann, University of Bremen, Germany;


Daniel Froelich, ENSAM, Chambéry, France; Tom Jones, Leuven University, Belgium; Yasushi Kondo, Waseda University, Japan; Jinhui Li


Tsinghua University, China; Hans-Rainer Lotz, Volkswagen, Germany; Stefan Luidold, University Leoben, Austria; Elisabeth Maris, ENSAM, The UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) helps


Chambery, France, Kazuyo Matsubae, Tohoku University, Japan; Nourredine Menad, BRGM, France; Shinsuke Murakami, Tokyo University,


Japan; Kenichi Nakajima, NIES, Japan; Tetsuya Nagasaka, Tohoku University, Japan; Shinichiro Nakamura, Waseda University, Japan; governments, local authorities and decision-makers in business and


Sheraz Neffati, ICDA, France; Shuji Owada, Waseda University, Japan; Jim Petrie, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Georg Rombach, industry to develop and implement policies and practices focusing on


Hydro Aluminium, Germany; Susanne Rotter, University of Berlin, Germany; Mathias Schluep, EMPA, Switzerland, Guido Sonnemann, Uni-


sustainable development.


versity of Bordeaux, France, Philip Strothmann, UNEP, France; Pia Tanskanen, Nokia, Finland; Karel van Acker, Leuven University, Belgium;


Jacques Villeneuve, BRGM, France; Harro von Blottnitz, University Cape Town, South Africa; Patrick Waeger, EMPA, Switzerland; Philippe The Division works to promote:


Wavrer, BRGM, France; Rolf Widmer, EMPA, Switzerland; Patrick Wollants, Leuven University, Belgium and Guomei Zhou, Ministry of Envi-


> sustainable consumption and production,


ronmental Protection, China.


> the effi cient use of renewable energy,


We would like to thank Christian Hudson and Marinus Kluijver for providing scientifi c and English editorial support for the full report.


The report went through several rounds of peer-review coordinated in an effi cient and constructive way by Patrice Christmann together with > adequate management of chemicals,


the International Resource Panel Secretariat. Valuable comments were received from several anonymous reviewers in this process. The > the integration of environmental costs in development policies.


preparation of this report also benefi ted from discussions with many colleagues at various meetings.


Special thanks go to Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker and Ashok Khosla as Co-Chairs of the International Resource Panel for their continuing


support and encouragement, as well as to the members of the International Resource Panel and its Steering Committee for their dedication The Offi ce of the Director, located in Paris, coordinates activities


and commitment and additional helpful comments. through:


Special thanks go to Anu Ketelä (Aalto University, Finland) for her support during the fi nal stages of the document preparation. Shaoyi Li, > The International Environmental Technology Centre - IETC (Osaka, Shiga),


Janet Salem, Thomas Marques and Philip Strothmann, UNEP, provided valuable input and comments; the International Resource Panel’s


which implements integrated waste, water and disaster management programmes,


Secretariat coordinated the preparation of this report. Sybille Schmidtchen and the team from 3f design were instrumental in creating and


editing the fi gures and graphics. focusing in particular on Asia.


The main responsibility for errors remains with the authors. > Sustainable Consumption and Production (Paris), which promotes sustainable


consumption and production patterns as a contribution to human development


Copyright © United Nations Environment Programme, 2013


through global markets.


The report should be referenced as follows:


UNEP (2013) Metal Recycling: Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure, A Report of the Working Group on the Global Metal Flows to the Inter- > Chemicals (Geneva), which catalyzes global actions to bring about the sound


national Resource Panel. Reuter, M. A.; Hudson, C.; van Schaik, A.; Heiskanen, K.; Meskers, C.; Hagelüken, C.


management of chemicals and the improvement of chemical safety worldwide.


Design/layout: 3f design; cover concept, UNEP.


Photos: iStockphoto.com: background title/page 38 © Harrie Marinus, title 1 © oneclearvision, title 2 © Marco Hegner, title 3 © Milos Peric, > Energy (Paris and Nairobi), which fosters energy and transport policies for


titlexa04 © DNY 59, page 2 © Youra Pechkin, page 6 © Ermin Gutenberger, page 22 fi gure 1_5 © Sergei Devyatkin, pagexa027 fi gurexa03/page 108 sustainable development and encourages investment in renewable energy and


fi gure 38_1 © Ivan Stevanovic, 3_2 © Jacob Wackerhausen, 3_9 © Pete Saloutos, page 30 fi gure 4/page 62 fi gurexa015/page 108 fi gure 38


energy effi ciency.


center © Joerg Reimann, page 54 fi gurexa012 © Christopher Pollack, page 86 © urbancow, page 130 © Lee Pettet, page 164 © best-foto,


page 242 © Richard Clark, page 262 © ugur bariskan, page 266 © James Whittaker, page 310 © Huguette Roe. PhotoDisc.com: page 191 > OzonAction (Paris), which supports the phase-out of ozone depleting substances


fi gure 83 © Don Farrall. Photocase.com: page 22 © NormanBates. Fotolia.com: page 42 © Blackosaka. Others: see captions.


in developing countries and countries with economies in transition to ensure


This publication may be reproduced in whole or in part and in any form for educational or nonprofi t purposes without special


implementation of the Montreal Protocol.


permission from the copyright holder, provided acknowledgement of the source is made. UNEP would appreciate receiving a


copy of any publication that uses this publication as a source. > Economics and Trade (Geneva), which helps countries to integrate environmental


considerations into economic and trade policies, and works with the fi nance sector


No use of this publication may be made for resale or for any other commercial purpose whatsoever without prior permission in


writing from the United Nations Environment Programme. to incorporate sustainable development policies.


Disclaimer


The designations employed and the presentation of the UNEP DTIE activities focus on raising awareness,


material in this publication do not imply the expression improving the transfer of knowledge and information,


of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the United UNEP


fostering technological cooperation and partnerships, and


Nations Environment Programme concerning the legal promotes environ-


status of any country, territory, city or area or of its implementing international conventions and agreements.


mentally sound practices


authorities, or concerning delimitation of its frontiers


or boundaries. Moreover, the views expressed globally and in its own activities. For more information,


do not necessarily represent the decision or the Please print this publication – when


stated policy of the United Nations Environment see


printing is necessary – on recycling www.unep.fr


Programme, nor does citing of trade names or


paper or FSC certi(cid:31) ed paper. Our distri-


commercial processes constitute endorsement.


bution policy aims to reduce UNEP’s


ISBN: 978-92-807-3267-2


carbon footprint.


Job Number: DTI/1535/PA M


etal


R


ecycling


Opportunities, Limits,


Infrastructure*


* This is report 2b of the Global Metal Flows Working Group of the


International Resource Panel of UNEP. Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


Foreword


The challenge of sustainable development at


the beginning of the 21st century has become


a systemic one, with environmental, social


and economic dimensions on an equal foot-


ing. UNEP and the UNEP-hosted Internation-


al Resource Panel consider that our contri-


butions also need to be systemic, for example


through the promotion of resource efficiency,


improved materials recycling and life-cycle


thinking. This report from the Panel, Met-


al Recycling - Opportunities, Limits, Infra-


structure, provides unrivalled science to in-


form policy makers about how the recycling


of metals can be optimized on an economic


and technological basis along product life cy-


cles in the move towards sustainable metals


management.


The report shows that sustainable metals


management requires more than improv-


ing recycling rates of selected materials. We


need to change thewhole mindset on recy-


cling of metals, moving away from a Materi-


al-Centric approach to a Product-Centric ap-


proach. Recycling has become increasingly


difficult today and much value is lost due to


the growing complexity of products and com-


plex interactions within recycling systems.


While common commodity metals like steel,


magnesium and copper can be recovered rel-


atively easily, as these are often used in rela-


tively simple applications, the small amounts


of metals in, for example, electrical and elec-


tronic waste can be harder to recover be-


cause they are often just one among up to


50 elements. As an example, a mobile phone


can contain more than 40 elements including


base metals such as copper and tin, special


metals such as cobalt, indium and antimo-


ny, and precious and platinum-group met-


als including silver, gold, palladium, tungsten


and yttrium. Fluorescent lamps contain vari-


ous materials and elements which include a


range of Rare Earth elements, and other crit-


ical metal resources. And a modern car con-


tains nearly all metals available, as it is a


2 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


product that integrates a broad range of oth- quantity of metal stocks and on metal recy-


er metal-containing products. cling rates outlined the so-far untapped


This is why thefocus needs to be on optimiz- potential and necessity to enhance global


ing the recycling of entire products at their metals recycling. This follow-up report analy-


end-of-life instead of focusing on the individ- ses the current limitations of metals recy-


ual materials contained in them. The global cling and discusses how to increase metal-


mainstreaming of a product-centric view on secondary production – and thus resource


recycling will be a remarkable step towards efficiency – from both quantity and quality


efficient recycling systems, resource effi- viewpoints. The report emphasizes that only


ciency, and a green economy in the context of a wide, systemic view of recycling looking at


sustainable development and poverty eradi- the industrial and economic factors driving


cation. recycling can deal with the complexity of in-


teractions between metals.


Such a transition will depend on the mobi-


lization of everyone in the value chain, from It acknowledges that recycling is primarily an


operators in the primary production of metals economic industrial activity, driven by the val-


and metal-containing products to the recy- ue of the recovered metals and materials. An


cling and collection industry to the consum- infrastructure for optimized recycling would


ers. Industry can be the source of driving in- therefore make use of economic incentives.


novation that maximizes resource efficiency Those economic drivers must align with long-


when policy makers draw on their expertise term economic goals, such as conserving


and tools. Experts from the extraction indus- critical metal resources for future applica-


try, for example, can make a crucial con- tions, even if their recovery may be currently


tribution through their knowledge of met- uneconomic.


al streams and Best Available Techniques


(BATs) for the separation and recovery of dif- Getting all stakeholders on board is crucial if


ferent components of a product. Moreover, we want to meet the increasing metal needs


the manufacturing industry plays a key role of the future in a sustainable way. This is a


in the design of products that facilitate recy- challenging task for policy makers. A wide,


cling, leading to a substantial increase in re- systemic approach based on the solid under-


cycling efficiency. However, making so-called standing of the industrial and economic fac-


“urban mines” valuable through recycling tors driving recycling will be needed. Such a


can only happen if consumers dispose waste knowledge base will allow to develop a co-


products at collection points operated ac- herent regulatory framework and powerful


cording to BAT and decide against informal or incentives for all stakeholders to participate


illegal disposal. in recycling and thus in our transition to a re-


source efficient society.


As populations in emerging economies adopt


similar technologies and lifestyles as cur-


Achim Steiner


rently used in OECD countries, global met-


al needs will be 3 to 9 times larger than all


UN Under-Secretary General and


the metals currently used in the world. This


Executive Director UNEP


poses a significant call for increased second-


ary production of metals. Two former reports Nairobi, Kenya


from the International Resource Panel on the


3 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


Preface


The increasing demand for metals in the course to the fact that recycling has become increas-


of the last century, putting permanent pressure ingly difficult due to the rising complexity of


on natural resources, has revealed that met- products. Raising metal-recycling rates there-


als are a priority area for decoupling economic fore needs realignment away from a material-


growth from resource use and environmental centric towards a product-centric approach. A


degradation. The imperative of decoupling will focus on products discloses the various trade-


become even more pressing in the future with offs between for example achieving weight-


a global demand for metals on the rise: In de- based policy targets and the excessive energy


veloping countries due to rapid industrialization consumed in efforts to meet these targets. Re-


and in developed countries due to modern, met- cycling objectives that go beyond what is ther-


al intensive technologies that are crucial not modynamically possible, thus rather hinder


only but especially for the transformation to- than promote recycling. Appropriate recycling


wards green technologies. Ensuring appropriate goals, which draw on the expertise and tools


levels of supply while reducing the negative en- available within the recycling industry, are a


vironmental footprints will therefore be essen- better way to enhance recycling of metals.


tial on our way towards a global green economy.


The present report responds to the pressing


In this regard, recycling and thus resource ef- need to optimize current recycling schemes


ficiency plays a crucial role, as it decreases the with the help of a better understanding of the


necessity to fulfil the demand by exploiting our limits imposed by physics, chemistry, thermo-


natural resources further. Using secondary re- dynamics and kinetics, as well as by the tech-


sources temporarily locked up in so-called “ur- nological, economic and social barriers and in-


ban mines” hence decreases not only the en- efficiencies encountered. Much is at stake when


vironmental impacts associated with mining, thinking about how to improve recycling sys-


but also decreases the release of – partly toxic tems: closing loops, reducing related environ-


– wastes into the environment. Taking into ac- mental impacts, safeguarding the availability of


count that most modern technologies rely on metals, minimizing metal prices, and promoting


‘critical’ elements, which are not abundant in meaningful and safe jobs for poor people in de-


nature, it is of crucial importance to preserve veloping countries.


and reuse them as much as possible.


We are very grateful to the lead author Markus


The International Resource Panel’s working Reuter and principal contributors Christian


group on Global Metal Flows contributes to the Hudson, Antoinette van Schaik, Kari Heiskanen,


promotion of an international sound material- Christina Meskers and Christian Hagelüken for


cycle society by providing a series of six scien- having generated such a thorough and valuable


tific and authoritative assessment studies on report.


the global flows of metals. To achieve best sci-


entific results, it cooperates with a number of



actors, including metal industry associations.


The present, report builds on the findings of the


two previously published assessments of met- Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker


al stocks in society and recycling rates, which


Emmendingen, Germany


came to the conclusion that despite huge metal


“mines above ground”, recycling rates remain


low. It aims at leveraging secondary production Dr. Ashok Khosla


of metals through a close analysis of the neces-


sary conditions and enablers of recycling. New Delhi, India


The report identifies a number of shortcom-


Co-Chairs, International Resource Panel


ings in current recycling policies but also shows


ways for their improvement. It emanates from


the report that recycling systems need to adjust


4 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


Preface



Metal recycling is increasingly promoted as The complementary Material Centric recy-


an effective way to address resource scarcity cling view point, as presented in the first re-


and mitigate environment impacts associated port, has the capability to answer the ques-


with metal production and use, but there is tion of how much is recycled but does not


little systemic information available regard- pretend to answer why and what should be


ing recycling performance, and still less on done to improve recycling of metals. This new


the true recycling rates that are possible and report sheds light on how to improve the re-


how to do better considering the system in its covery of especially those critical technology


totality. The former topic was the subject of elements that were shown to have low recy-


an earlier report from the International Re- cling rates.


source Panel (Recycling Rates of Metals: A


Status Report, 2011). In the present report, The report concludes with a number of tools


the second topic is addressed. that can aid decision-makers in arriving at


improved recycling approaches. This provides


This new report discusses the benefits and a physics basis for performing Design for Re-


necessity of approaching recycling from prod- cycling and Sustainability, Eco-labeling, and


ucts, considering them as complex “designer quantifying resource efficiency, as well as es-


minerals” with typical structures and join- timating the opportunities, limits, and infra-


ings. This Product Centric approach therefore structure of recycling.


takes account of the complexities of modern


products (which are often much more com-


plex than geological minerals), and the ways


in which non-traditional mixtures of elements Prof. Thomas E. Graedel


are now common. The approach gains much


useful perspective from experience in clas- Leader of the


sical minerals and metallurgical processing. Global Metal Flows Working Group


All contained metals in all streams can be


tracked by revealing the “mineralogies” of the


material particles, thereby allowing a more


detailed and deeper understanding of these Prof. Markus Reuter


complex systems.


Lead Author


As the report argues, modern technology


systems require not only efficient end-of-life


collection of products, but also effective sort-


ing after collection, and then the optimum


suite of physical separation and metallurgical


technologies for an economically viable re-


covery of metals from the sorted recyclates.


The report shows how failure at any stage of


the recycling chain limits recycling perfor-


mance, and shows as well that basic thermo-


dynamic, technological, and economic limi-


tations may prevent metallurgical metal re-


covery for some combinations of metals and


materials.


5 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


6 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


Table of Contents


Prefaces ________________________________________________________________________ 2


Table of Contents ___________________________________________________________________ 7


List of Figures ______________________________________________________________________ 8


List of Tables ______________________________________________________________________ 12


Executive Summary ________________________________________________________________ 22


1 Brief Overview of Factors Affecting Recycling _______________________________________39


2 Recycling Opportunities __________________________________________________________67


3 Limiting Factors in Recycling _____________________________________________________87


4 Consequence of Limiting Factors _________________________________________________125


5 Infrastructure for Optimizing Recycling ___________________________________________131


6 Tools to Aid Decision Making _____________________________________________________151


7 Policy Drivers and Recommendations for Recycling _________________________________165


Appendix A. Details on Recovery of Metals from Recyclates _____________________________181


Appendix B. Details on Metals Found in WEEE _________________________________________212


Appendix C. Details on Battery Recycling _____________________________________________227


Appendix D. Mobile Phone Collection ________________________________________________239


Appendix E. Models and Simulation in Recycling ______________________________________243


Appendix F. Physics of Extractive Metallurgy __________________________________________267


References ______________________________________________________________________290


Acronyms and Definitions __________________________________________________________ 312


International Resource Panel _______________________________________________________ 316


Global Metal Flows Working Group __________________________________________________ 316


7 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


List of Figures


Figure 1: Product Centric Recycling: Application of economically viable technology and


methods throughout the recovery chain to extract metals from the complex inter-


linkages within designed “minerals” i. e. products, gleaning from the deep know-


how of recovering metals from complex geological minerals. ______________________22


Figure 2: The best footprint of sustainability and resource efficiency may be achieved


by reducing losses during processing by bringing together the various


stakeholders, thus minimizing the use of resources in their widest sense.


No society can truly achieve a “closed-loop” status; there will always be


some loss and economic growth implies more raw-material needs; there-


fore, Figure 2 shows how this footprint is affected by the various activities


of transforming raw materials. ____________________________________________24


Figure 3: Product-Centric recycling – A schematic diagram of the life cycle of metal-


containing products going through recycling, showing the inevitable loss-


es. Design for resource efficiency covers all details of the figure in order to


minimize losses _________________________________________________________27


Figure 4: The “Metal Wheel”, based on primary metallurgy but equally valid for met-


als recycling reflects the destination of different elements in base-metal


minerals as a function of interlinked metallurgical process technology. Each


slice represents the complete infrastructure for base- or Carrier-Metal re-


fining. As there are so many different combinations of materials in End-of-


Life products, only physics-based modelling can provide the basis for valid


predictions. In essence, primary metallurgy is situated in a segment a com-


plete processing plant, while the complexity of consumer product mineral-


ogy requires an industrial ecological network of many metallurgical produc-


tion infrastructure to maximize recovery of all elements in end-of-life prod-


ucts (Reuter and van Schaik, 2012a&b; Ullmann’s Encyclopaedia, 2005). _________30


Figure 5: Example of existing software for flowsheet design, based on composition-


al data for a product (here LCD screens), which lead to simulated resource


efficiency data that, in turn, lead to a recyclability index based on environ-


mental analysis – a metallurgical processing infrastructure is prerequisite


(Reuter 1998). __________________________________________________________31


Figure 6: Resource cycles should be linked by flowsheeting and simulation tools


based on rigorous physics before interactively linking them to environmen-


tal-impact assessment software (HSC Sim and GaBi). ________________________32


Figure 7: Past exponential growth of different battery technologies


(Eurometaux, 2010). _____________________________________________________41


Figure 8: Gold ore grades between 1830 and 2010 (Source: UNEP 2011c, p.xa024). __________44


Figure 9: Various definitions of recycling rates and corresponding data for elements


in the periodic table (UNEP, 2011b). ________________________________________48


Figure 10: Recycling performance calculations as a function of various objectives,


constraints and scenarios. Results are expressed per scenario in terms of


overall Recycling + recovery rate; Recycling rate (material recycling); Re-


covery rate (energy recovery); Produced waste; as well as Steel and Copper


recycling rates. _________________________________________________________52


8


A key question that relates to the


very broad and intensive use of


metals is whether society needs


to be concerned about long-term


supplies of any or many of them.


This is a many-faceted question


that cannot be answered quickly


or unequivocally. To address it,


M


the Global Metal Flows Group


For more information, contact: etal


envisions a series of six reports,


Resource Panel Secretariat


R


of which this is the second-b one UNEP DTIE ecycling


addressing opportunities, limits Sustainable Consumption


and Production Branch


and infrastructure for metal recy- Opportunities, Limits,


15 rue de Milan


cling. This report follows the IRP’s 75441 Paris CEDEX 09 Infrastructure


fi rst report on recycling, which France


has demonstrated the status quo Tel: +33 1 44 37 14 50


Fax: +33 1 44 37 14 74


of global recycling rates for sixty


E-mail: resourcepanel@unep.org


metals.


www.unep.org/resourcepanel


Product-Centric recycling is dis-


cussed in this report by acknowl-


edged experts. This approach


is considered to be an essential


enabler of resource effi ciency by


increasing recycling rates. Due


to complex functionality, modern


products contain complex mixes


of almost any imaginable metal,


material and compound. This re-


port provides a techno-economic,


product design and physics basis


to address the challenges of recy-


E


cling these increasingly complex


M


products in the 21st century. M


A


R


G


O


R


Published in April 2013


P



T


N


E


M


N


O


R


I


V


N


E



S


N


O


I


T


A


N



D


E


T


ISBN: 978-92-807-3267-2 I


N


DTI/1535/PA U Acknowledgments


Editor: International Resource Panel, Working Group on the Global Metal Flows


Lead author: Markus Reuter


Authors: Markus Reuter, Outotec Oyj, Finland and Aalto University, Finland; Christian Hudson, DIW, Germany; Antoinette van Schaik,


MARAS, Netherlands; Kari Heiskanen, Aalto University, Finland; Christina Meskers, Umicore, Belgium and Christian Hagelüken, Umicore,


Germany.


Contributors (Alphabetical): Helmut Antrekowitsch, University Leoben, Austria; Diran Apelian, WPI, USA; Bo Bjorkman, Luleå University of About the UNEP Division of Technology,


Technology, Sweden; Bart Blanpain, Leuven University, Belgium; Françoise Bodenan, BRGM, France; Mieke Campforts, Umicore, Belgium; Industry and Economics


Amélia Enríquez, UNEP, Brazil; Bernd Friedrich RWTH Aachen, Germany; Stefan Gössling-Reisemann, University of Bremen, Germany;


Daniel Froelich, ENSAM, Chambéry, France; Tom Jones, Leuven University, Belgium; Yasushi Kondo, Waseda University, Japan; Jinhui Li


Tsinghua University, China; Hans-Rainer Lotz, Volkswagen, Germany; Stefan Luidold, University Leoben, Austria; Elisabeth Maris, ENSAM, The UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) helps


Chambery, France, Kazuyo Matsubae, Tohoku University, Japan; Nourredine Menad, BRGM, France; Shinsuke Murakami, Tokyo University,


Japan; Kenichi Nakajima, NIES, Japan; Tetsuya Nagasaka, Tohoku University, Japan; Shinichiro Nakamura, Waseda University, Japan; governments, local authorities and decision-makers in business and


Sheraz Neffati, ICDA, France; Shuji Owada, Waseda University, Japan; Jim Petrie, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Georg Rombach, industry to develop and implement policies and practices focusing on


Hydro Aluminium, Germany; Susanne Rotter, University of Berlin, Germany; Mathias Schluep, EMPA, Switzerland, Guido Sonnemann, Uni-


sustainable development.


versity of Bordeaux, France, Philip Strothmann, UNEP, France; Pia Tanskanen, Nokia, Finland; Karel van Acker, Leuven University, Belgium;


Jacques Villeneuve, BRGM, France; Harro von Blottnitz, University Cape Town, South Africa; Patrick Waeger, EMPA, Switzerland; Philippe The Division works to promote:


Wavrer, BRGM, France; Rolf Widmer, EMPA, Switzerland; Patrick Wollants, Leuven University, Belgium and Guomei Zhou, Ministry of Envi-


> sustainable consumption and production,


ronmental Protection, China.


> the effi cient use of renewable energy,


We would like to thank Christian Hudson and Marinus Kluijver for providing scientifi c and English editorial support for the full report.


The report went through several rounds of peer-review coordinated in an effi cient and constructive way by Patrice Christmann together with > adequate management of chemicals,


the International Resource Panel Secretariat. Valuable comments were received from several anonymous reviewers in this process. The > the integration of environmental costs in development policies.


preparation of this report also benefi ted from discussions with many colleagues at various meetings.


Special thanks go to Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker and Ashok Khosla as Co-Chairs of the International Resource Panel for their continuing


support and encouragement, as well as to the members of the International Resource Panel and its Steering Committee for their dedication The Offi ce of the Director, located in Paris, coordinates activities


and commitment and additional helpful comments. through:


Special thanks go to Anu Ketelä (Aalto University, Finland) for her support during the fi nal stages of the document preparation. Shaoyi Li, > The International Environmental Technology Centre - IETC (Osaka, Shiga),


Janet Salem, Thomas Marques and Philip Strothmann, UNEP, provided valuable input and comments; the International Resource Panel’s


which implements integrated waste, water and disaster management programmes,


Secretariat coordinated the preparation of this report. Sybille Schmidtchen and the team from 3f design were instrumental in creating and


editing the fi gures and graphics. focusing in particular on Asia.


The main responsibility for errors remains with the authors. > Sustainable Consumption and Production (Paris), which promotes sustainable


consumption and production patterns as a contribution to human development


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ISBN: 978-92-807-3267-2


carbon footprint.


Job Number: DTI/1535/PA M


etal


R


ecycling


Opportunities, Limits,


Infrastructure*


* This is report 2b of the Global Metal Flows Working Group of the


International Resource Panel of UNEP. Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


Foreword


The challenge of sustainable development at


the beginning of the 21st century has become


a systemic one, with environmental, social


and economic dimensions on an equal foot-


ing. UNEP and the UNEP-hosted Internation-


al Resource Panel consider that our contri-


butions also need to be systemic, for example


through the promotion of resource efficiency,


improved materials recycling and life-cycle


thinking. This report from the Panel, Met-


al Recycling - Opportunities, Limits, Infra-


structure, provides unrivalled science to in-


form policy makers about how the recycling


of metals can be optimized on an economic


and technological basis along product life cy-


cles in the move towards sustainable metals


management.


The report shows that sustainable metals


management requires more than improv-


ing recycling rates of selected materials. We


need to change thewhole mindset on recy-


cling of metals, moving away from a Materi-


al-Centric approach to a Product-Centric ap-


proach. Recycling has become increasingly


difficult today and much value is lost due to


the growing complexity of products and com-


plex interactions within recycling systems.


While common commodity metals like steel,


magnesium and copper can be recovered rel-


atively easily, as these are often used in rela-


tively simple applications, the small amounts


of metals in, for example, electrical and elec-


tronic waste can be harder to recover be-


cause they are often just one among up to


50 elements. As an example, a mobile phone


can contain more than 40 elements including


base metals such as copper and tin, special


metals such as cobalt, indium and antimo-


ny, and precious and platinum-group met-


als including silver, gold, palladium, tungsten


and yttrium. Fluorescent lamps contain vari-


ous materials and elements which include a


range of Rare Earth elements, and other crit-


ical metal resources. And a modern car con-


tains nearly all metals available, as it is a


2 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


product that integrates a broad range of oth- quantity of metal stocks and on metal recy-


er metal-containing products. cling rates outlined the so-far untapped


This is why thefocus needs to be on optimiz- potential and necessity to enhance global


ing the recycling of entire products at their metals recycling. This follow-up report analy-


end-of-life instead of focusing on the individ- ses the current limitations of metals recy-


ual materials contained in them. The global cling and discusses how to increase metal-


mainstreaming of a product-centric view on secondary production – and thus resource


recycling will be a remarkable step towards efficiency – from both quantity and quality


efficient recycling systems, resource effi- viewpoints. The report emphasizes that only


ciency, and a green economy in the context of a wide, systemic view of recycling looking at


sustainable development and poverty eradi- the industrial and economic factors driving


cation. recycling can deal with the complexity of in-


teractions between metals.


Such a transition will depend on the mobi-


lization of everyone in the value chain, from It acknowledges that recycling is primarily an


operators in the primary production of metals economic industrial activity, driven by the val-


and metal-containing products to the recy- ue of the recovered metals and materials. An


cling and collection industry to the consum- infrastructure for optimized recycling would


ers. Industry can be the source of driving in- therefore make use of economic incentives.


novation that maximizes resource efficiency Those economic drivers must align with long-


when policy makers draw on their expertise term economic goals, such as conserving


and tools. Experts from the extraction indus- critical metal resources for future applica-


try, for example, can make a crucial con- tions, even if their recovery may be currently


tribution through their knowledge of met- uneconomic.


al streams and Best Available Techniques


(BATs) for the separation and recovery of dif- Getting all stakeholders on board is crucial if


ferent components of a product. Moreover, we want to meet the increasing metal needs


the manufacturing industry plays a key role of the future in a sustainable way. This is a


in the design of products that facilitate recy- challenging task for policy makers. A wide,


cling, leading to a substantial increase in re- systemic approach based on the solid under-


cycling efficiency. However, making so-called standing of the industrial and economic fac-


“urban mines” valuable through recycling tors driving recycling will be needed. Such a


can only happen if consumers dispose waste knowledge base will allow to develop a co-


products at collection points operated ac- herent regulatory framework and powerful


cording to BAT and decide against informal or incentives for all stakeholders to participate


illegal disposal. in recycling and thus in our transition to a re-


source efficient society.


As populations in emerging economies adopt


similar technologies and lifestyles as cur-


Achim Steiner


rently used in OECD countries, global met-


al needs will be 3 to 9 times larger than all


UN Under-Secretary General and


the metals currently used in the world. This


Executive Director UNEP


poses a significant call for increased second-


ary production of metals. Two former reports Nairobi, Kenya


from the International Resource Panel on the


3 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


Preface


The increasing demand for metals in the course to the fact that recycling has become increas-


of the last century, putting permanent pressure ingly difficult due to the rising complexity of


on natural resources, has revealed that met- products. Raising metal-recycling rates there-


als are a priority area for decoupling economic fore needs realignment away from a material-


growth from resource use and environmental centric towards a product-centric approach. A


degradation. The imperative of decoupling will focus on products discloses the various trade-


become even more pressing in the future with offs between for example achieving weight-


a global demand for metals on the rise: In de- based policy targets and the excessive energy


veloping countries due to rapid industrialization consumed in efforts to meet these targets. Re-


and in developed countries due to modern, met- cycling objectives that go beyond what is ther-


al intensive technologies that are crucial not modynamically possible, thus rather hinder


only but especially for the transformation to- than promote recycling. Appropriate recycling


wards green technologies. Ensuring appropriate goals, which draw on the expertise and tools


levels of supply while reducing the negative en- available within the recycling industry, are a


vironmental footprints will therefore be essen- better way to enhance recycling of metals.


tial on our way towards a global green economy.


The present report responds to the pressing


In this regard, recycling and thus resource ef- need to optimize current recycling schemes


ficiency plays a crucial role, as it decreases the with the help of a better understanding of the


necessity to fulfil the demand by exploiting our limits imposed by physics, chemistry, thermo-


natural resources further. Using secondary re- dynamics and kinetics, as well as by the tech-


sources temporarily locked up in so-called “ur- nological, economic and social barriers and in-


ban mines” hence decreases not only the en- efficiencies encountered. Much is at stake when


vironmental impacts associated with mining, thinking about how to improve recycling sys-


but also decreases the release of – partly toxic tems: closing loops, reducing related environ-


– wastes into the environment. Taking into ac- mental impacts, safeguarding the availability of


count that most modern technologies rely on metals, minimizing metal prices, and promoting


‘critical’ elements, which are not abundant in meaningful and safe jobs for poor people in de-


nature, it is of crucial importance to preserve veloping countries.


and reuse them as much as possible.


We are very grateful to the lead author Markus


The International Resource Panel’s working Reuter and principal contributors Christian


group on Global Metal Flows contributes to the Hudson, Antoinette van Schaik, Kari Heiskanen,


promotion of an international sound material- Christina Meskers and Christian Hagelüken for


cycle society by providing a series of six scien- having generated such a thorough and valuable


tific and authoritative assessment studies on report.


the global flows of metals. To achieve best sci-


entific results, it cooperates with a number of



actors, including metal industry associations.


The present, report builds on the findings of the


two previously published assessments of met- Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker


al stocks in society and recycling rates, which


Emmendingen, Germany


came to the conclusion that despite huge metal


“mines above ground”, recycling rates remain


low. It aims at leveraging secondary production Dr. Ashok Khosla


of metals through a close analysis of the neces-


sary conditions and enablers of recycling. New Delhi, India


The report identifies a number of shortcom-


Co-Chairs, International Resource Panel


ings in current recycling policies but also shows


ways for their improvement. It emanates from


the report that recycling systems need to adjust


4 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


Preface



Metal recycling is increasingly promoted as The complementary Material Centric recy-


an effective way to address resource scarcity cling view point, as presented in the first re-


and mitigate environment impacts associated port, has the capability to answer the ques-


with metal production and use, but there is tion of how much is recycled but does not


little systemic information available regard- pretend to answer why and what should be


ing recycling performance, and still less on done to improve recycling of metals. This new


the true recycling rates that are possible and report sheds light on how to improve the re-


how to do better considering the system in its covery of especially those critical technology


totality. The former topic was the subject of elements that were shown to have low recy-


an earlier report from the International Re- cling rates.


source Panel (Recycling Rates of Metals: A


Status Report, 2011). In the present report, The report concludes with a number of tools


the second topic is addressed. that can aid decision-makers in arriving at


improved recycling approaches. This provides


This new report discusses the benefits and a physics basis for performing Design for Re-


necessity of approaching recycling from prod- cycling and Sustainability, Eco-labeling, and


ucts, considering them as complex “designer quantifying resource efficiency, as well as es-


minerals” with typical structures and join- timating the opportunities, limits, and infra-


ings. This Product Centric approach therefore structure of recycling.


takes account of the complexities of modern


products (which are often much more com-


plex than geological minerals), and the ways


in which non-traditional mixtures of elements Prof. Thomas E. Graedel


are now common. The approach gains much


useful perspective from experience in clas- Leader of the


sical minerals and metallurgical processing. Global Metal Flows Working Group


All contained metals in all streams can be


tracked by revealing the “mineralogies” of the


material particles, thereby allowing a more


detailed and deeper understanding of these Prof. Markus Reuter


complex systems.


Lead Author


As the report argues, modern technology


systems require not only efficient end-of-life


collection of products, but also effective sort-


ing after collection, and then the optimum


suite of physical separation and metallurgical


technologies for an economically viable re-


covery of metals from the sorted recyclates.


The report shows how failure at any stage of


the recycling chain limits recycling perfor-


mance, and shows as well that basic thermo-


dynamic, technological, and economic limi-


tations may prevent metallurgical metal re-


covery for some combinations of metals and


materials.


5 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


6 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


Table of Contents


Prefaces ________________________________________________________________________ 2


Table of Contents ___________________________________________________________________ 7


List of Figures ______________________________________________________________________ 8


List of Tables ______________________________________________________________________ 12


Executive Summary ________________________________________________________________ 22


1 Brief Overview of Factors Affecting Recycling _______________________________________39


2 Recycling Opportunities __________________________________________________________67


3 Limiting Factors in Recycling _____________________________________________________87


4 Consequence of Limiting Factors _________________________________________________125


5 Infrastructure for Optimizing Recycling ___________________________________________131


6 Tools to Aid Decision Making _____________________________________________________151


7 Policy Drivers and Recommendations for Recycling _________________________________165


Appendix A. Details on Recovery of Metals from Recyclates _____________________________181


Appendix B. Details on Metals Found in WEEE _________________________________________212


Appendix C. Details on Battery Recycling _____________________________________________227


Appendix D. Mobile Phone Collection ________________________________________________239


Appendix E. Models and Simulation in Recycling ______________________________________243


Appendix F. Physics of Extractive Metallurgy __________________________________________267


References ______________________________________________________________________290


Acronyms and Definitions __________________________________________________________ 312


International Resource Panel _______________________________________________________ 316


Global Metal Flows Working Group __________________________________________________ 316


7 Metal Recycling – Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure


List of Figures


Figure 1: Product Centric Recycling: Application of economically viable technology and


methods throughout the recovery chain to extract metals from the complex inter-


linkages within designed “minerals” i. e. products, gleaning from the deep know-


how of recovering metals from complex geological minerals. ______________________22


Figure 2: The best footprint of sustainability and resource efficiency may be achieved


by reducing losses during processing by bringing together the various


stakeholders, thus minimizing the use of resources in their widest sense.


No society can truly achieve a “closed-loop” status; there will always be


some loss and economic growth implies more raw-material needs; there-


fore, Figure 2 shows how this footprint is affected by the various activities


of transforming raw materials. ____________________________________________24


Figure 3: Product-Centric recycling – A schematic diagram of the life cycle of metal-


containing products going through recycling, showing the inevitable loss-


es. Design for resource efficiency covers all details of the figure in order to


minimize losses _________________________________________________________27


Figure 4: The “Metal Wheel”, based on primary metallurgy but equally valid for met-


als recycling reflects the destination of different elements in base-metal


minerals as a function of interlinked metallurgical process technology. Each


slice represents the complete infrastructure for base- or Carrier-Metal re-


fining. As there are so many different combinations of materials in End-of-


Life products, only physics-based modelling can provide the basis for valid


predictions. In essence, primary metallurgy is situated in a segment a com-


plete processing plant, while the complexity of consumer product mineral-


ogy requires an industrial ecological network of many metallurgical produc-


tion infrastructure to maximize recovery of all elements in end-of-life prod-


ucts (Reuter and van Schaik, 2012a&b; Ullmann’s Encyclopaedia, 2005). _________30


Figure 5: Example of existing software for flowsheet design, based on composition-


al data for a product (here LCD screens), which lead to simulated resource


efficiency data that, in turn, lead to a recyclability index based on environ-


mental analysis – a metallurgical processing infrastructure is prerequisite


(Reuter 1998). __________________________________________________________31


Figure 6: Resource cycles should be linked by flowsheeting and simulation tools


based on rigorous physics before interactively linking them to environmen-


tal-impact assessment software (HSC Sim and GaBi). ________________________32


Figure 7: Past exponential growth of different battery technologies


(Eurometaux, 2010). _____________________________________________________41


Figure 8: Gold ore grades between 1830 and 2010 (Source: UNEP 2011c, p.xa024). __________44


Figure 9: Various definitions of recycling rates and corresponding data for elements


in the periodic table (UNEP, 2011b). ________________________________________48


Figure 10: Recycling performance calculations as a function of various objectives,


constraints and scenarios. Results are expressed per scenario in terms of


overall Recycling + recovery rate; Recycling rate (material recycling); Re-


covery rate (energy recovery); Produced waste; as well as Steel and Copper


recycling rates. _________________________________________________________52


8


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