The increasing world population leads to a rising demand for raw materials. If everyone on our planet wants to reach the standard of living of the highly developed industrial nations, the demand for raw materials will increase by a multiple compared to today's level. However, the quest for raw materials will pose huge challenges over the decades to come. These are economic, environmental as well as political challenges because access to natural resources is becoming increasingly difficult and their extraction is becoming more expensive. Higher energy consumption and the exploitation of deposits in remote areas - such as the Arctic or the deep sea - are leading to an increase in environmental pollution. Last but not least, conflicts over distributive justice will affect the supply of raw materials to all people. That is why recycling is more important than ever. Only through recycling will we be able to overcome the limits of raw material availability.

Metals - unlike coal and oil - have the advantage that they can be recycled over and over again. Once they have been extracted as an element, they remain bound in products for longer or shorter periods of time. After a product´s life cycle, they can be recovered from waste and processed into new products. Unfortunately, this is not yet economical for all elements. This is why many metals still end up in landfills or waste incineration plants.

If you click the field for tungsten in the periodic table, our recycling profile for tungsten will pop up. Give it a try! Further profiles will follow..

 

 

   
> 50 %
   
> 25-50 %
   
> 10-25 %
   
> 1-10 %
   
< 1%

End-of-life recycling rates (EOL-RR) for sixty metals:

The periodic table of global average end-of-life (post-consumer) functional recycling (EOL-RR) for sixty metals. Functional recycling is recycling in which the physical and chemical properties that made the material desirable in the first place are retained for subsequent use. Unfilled boxes indicate that no data or estimates are available.

Source: "Recycling Rates Of Metals - A Status Report", United Nations Environment Programme, 2011