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Article

The Potential and Limitations of Critical Raw Material Recycling: The Case of LED Lamps

Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Doeppersberg 19, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany
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Academic Editors: Andrea Thorenz and Armin Reller
Resources 2021, 10(4), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10040037
Received: 2 March 2021 / Revised: 10 April 2021 / Accepted: 12 April 2021 / Published: 16 April 2021
Supply risks and environmental concerns drive the interest in critical raw material recycling in the European Union. Globally, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is projected to increase by almost 40% until 2030. This waste stream can be a source of secondary raw materials. The determination of the economic feasibility of recycling and recovering specific materials is a data-intensive, time-consuming, and case-specific task. This study introduced a two-part evaluation scheme consisting of upper continental crust concentrations and raw material prices as a simple tool to indicate the potential and limitations of critical raw material recycling. It was applied to the case of light-emitting diodes (LED) lamps in the EU. A material flow analysis was conducted, and the projected waste amounts were analyzed using the new scheme. Indium, gallium, and the rare earth elements appeared in low concentrations and low absolute masses and showed only a small revenue potential. Precious metals represented the largest revenue share. Future research should confirm the validity and usefulness of the evaluation scheme. View Full-Text
Keywords: recycling economics; urban mining; LED lamps; material flow analysis recycling economics; urban mining; LED lamps; material flow analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nikulski, J.S.; Ritthoff, M.; von Gries, N. The Potential and Limitations of Critical Raw Material Recycling: The Case of LED Lamps. Resources 2021, 10, 37. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10040037

AMA Style

Nikulski JS, Ritthoff M, von Gries N. The Potential and Limitations of Critical Raw Material Recycling: The Case of LED Lamps. Resources. 2021; 10(4):37. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10040037

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nikulski, Julia S., Michael Ritthoff, and Nadja von Gries. 2021. "The Potential and Limitations of Critical Raw Material Recycling: The Case of LED Lamps" Resources 10, no. 4: 37. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10040037

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