Strategies for a circular economy

Green technologies and critical raw materials

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This policy paper has been commissioned by Henrike Hahn, Member of the European Parliament from the Greens / EFA to support her legislative activities on the European strategy for critical raw materials.

It aims at answering key questions regarding critical raw material demand for green technologies in comparison to other applications and potentials for substitution, recycling, and material efficiency from a scientific perspective.

In this paper, the authors explore how greening technologies can be defined and the extent to which they or other applications and industries contribute to increasing the demand for raw materials. Furthermore, potentials for substitution, material efficiency and innovation will be examined based on examples. The role of recycling will be investigated showing the supply potential for key examples and estimations of economic effects. In the end, policy options to foster a more circular economy will be outlined.

The paper is intended to provide a quick overview of the most important topics and does not claim to be exhaustive regarding this very comprehensive topic.