SCRREEN workshops: a recap of the Expert Group Meeting on “CRMs and Circular Economy Beyond Research and Updating Critical Raw Material Lists”

For me, I was particularly interested in the Expert Group meeting on ‘CRM & circular economy’, one of the five priorities of the EU CE package. Attending the other sessions on ‘Resources’ and ‘Substitution’ clearly proved that more focus and work should be put into these three themes… Thanks again for a great meeting! – JF Renault (PtJ)

The Expert Group workshop on ‘Circular Economy’ focused on an open exchange between different stakeholder groups about the potentials and limits of a circular economy for CRMs. Six speakers from academia, recycling, supply, CRM user industries and the French government presented their views on circular economy, recycling technologies in practice, influence of product design, end-of-life management (collection, pre- and final processing) and the economic, ecological, political and regulatory framework conditions.

It was found that in cases where CRMs are contained in minimum concentrations and total quantities, recycling of certain CRMs from certain products may not be the best option from both the economic and ecological point of view. A key element was the reliable financing of CRM recycling in general since revenues from CRM recycling cannot cover the additional expenses with few exemptions like PGM recycling. Even though different options such as financing via the extended producer responsibility in combination with standards requiring the recycling of certain CRMs were discussed, no specific measure was recommended. It was agreed, however, that setting up requirements for CRM recycling and related financing obligations should be carefully implemented taking into account the findings made during the workshop.

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