A "recycling society is just a distant hope," according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme.
The report, Recycling Rates of Metals : A Status Report says that recycling rates of metals are in many cases far lower than their potential for reuse. The report states that fewer than one-third of 60 metals studied have an end-of-life recycling rate above 50 per cent and 34 elements are below 1 per cent recycling, yet many of these are crucial to clean technologies such as batteries for hybrid cars to the magnets in wind turbines, according to the authors of the study.
"In spite of significant efforts in a number of countries and regions, many metal recycling rates are discouragingly low, and a 'recycling society' appears no more than a distant hope," states the report. It notes that unlike some other resources, metals are "inherently recyclable," which makes the poor performance all the more frustrating.
The report lists the recovery rate of 60 metals, and offers suggestions for an improved metal recycling recovery rate.