Challenges of recycling multiple scarce metals: The case of Swedish ELV and WEEE recycling
Journal article, 2019

Cars and electronic products are characterised by high metal complexity. Meanwhile, recycling industries are not fully aligned with this complexity, leading to losses of unique scarce metal resources. By utilising the technological innovation system framework we identify, and discuss implications of, factors that impact on recycling of some precious (gold, palladium, silver) and minor metals (gallium, tantalum) in printed circuit boards (PCBs) present in Swedish end-of-life cars (ELVs) and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). We conclude that while precious metals from WEEE PCBs are currently recycled, recycling precious metals from ELV PCBs will likely remain a challenge in the near-term due to recycling being blocked by the material composition of ELV waste, design of waste legislation, and by accumulated capabilities and business models in current recycling industries. However, some of these blocking factors are open to direct influence from national policymakers or industry actors and may thus be alleviated more easily. In contrast, recycling minor metals from ELV or WEEE PCBs will likely remain challenging also in the long-term due to a larger set of blocking factors. Alleviating these may require a substantial portfolio of metal-specific policies at national and supra national levels supporting the build-up of entirely new recycling value chains.

scarce metal

Technological innovation system (TIS)

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

Car

recycling

End-of-life vehicle (ELV)

Author

Magnus Andersson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Maria Ljunggren Söderman

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Björn Sandén

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Resources Policy

0301-4207 (ISSN)

Vol. 63 101403

Mistra EXPLORE - Exploring the opportunities for advancing vehicle recycling industrialization

The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra), 2016-04-01 -- 2019-12-31.

The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra), 2016-04-01 -- 2019-12-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Transport

Production

Energy

Subject Categories

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Environmental Engineering

DOI

10.1016/j.resourpol.2019.101403

More information

Latest update

6/11/2019