Lack of raw materials policy – Recycling rate for rare earths with some one percent

Lack of raw materials policy – Recycling rate for rare earths with some one percent

09.04.2012 – Germany lacks a policy on raw materials from a single. But without a fundamentally new way of dealing with raw materials will damage the competitiveness of Germany. The said Peter Kurth, President of the Federation of German Waste, Water- and Extractive Industries, BDE, an association of some interest 750 private sector companies of all sizes.

Politics and economy of the 51-year-old lawyer called the end of March to proceed with turning raw materials into Germany and Europe. The industrial growth and the concomitant increase in raw material consumption so far would have to be decoupled from each other. Why is this necessary work, and how this can, Kurth said in an interview.
Mr. Kurth, You say, A new use of raw materials ruling on the future competitiveness of Germany. To what extent?

Germany was last year, commodities valued at nearly 140 Billion € used. When resources become scarce and more expensive - and that all the forecasts suggest - we must use these resources in the future much more economical and efficient as possible and reuse. We need to address systematically.

That Germany is not already recycling champion?

It all depends on the substances. Take for example the rare earth, we need for many high-tech products: The recycling rate here sometimes less than one percent, many other materials such as silicon, the rate did not grasp.

Where does the?

This has mostly to do with the cost of recycling. High-quality recycling is not to be had for free. In spite of large price jumps in the rare-earth about their recycling pays for itself not yet. Incineration is often cheaper than recycling - but no alternative, we can not afford, given the increasing scarcity.

If the waste incineration plants close their doors?

Not generally, But the question is, if we continue to burn, no matter how much garbage as before. In my view this would be the wrong way. There are studies, from that of the small electrical household appliances 60 to 70 Percent end up in waste incineration plants - because people throw these devices in the residual waste. Is that, go every year 15.000 Tonnes of copper in the combustion, We must then try to, regain of the dross. But these raw material losses add up to a three-digit million amount.

What speaks against acute shortages of copper…?

Still, most of the raw materials actually available as primary sources and still affordable, despite rising prices. Your use pays more. Recycling pays off today only, if the policy for more raw material consumption cost factor makes. Where did it happen, The industry has improved the recycling: For example, we save about packaging the product responsibility of manufacturers 400.000 Tons of material per year.

For most other substances, there is no such product stewardship.

Just. At the moment it is only for sales packaging, old electrical appliances and batteries. Whoever brings into circulation, pay fees for their collection and processing. Thus, manufacturers have an interest, some materials on the market, to keep their costs low. But this system can easily escape the charge. The state controls them too little. We therefore call a central office, the corresponding flow rates recorded and nachhält.

Will a tighter surveillance and greater product responsibility?

We also need more research. To clarify, for example,, such as aluminum may be interesting as a secondary raw material for the industry to inquiring. The aluminum industry in North Rhine-Westphalia said, they could to 80 Percent of their energy cost savings, if they could complete swirl to the secondary aluminum raw material. Your customers would need to be able to work with the secondary raw material as good as the primary raw material. This could be organized relatively easily. But we need the necessary conditions.

The 100-percent recycling - is it feasible?

Since I am skeptical. We target, 100 Percent of the recyclable materials back into circulation. Of bulk commodities such as glass or paper, we come forward to recycling rates of 80 to 90 Percent. But we have also pollutants or contaminants from waste streams, the complete cycle of conflict management. The thermal utilization will therefore continue to play a role. But it can not be, that work against our industry over-capacity in the waste incineration must.

Incineration makes recycling?

Not all substances are equally easy to recycle today. Plastics, for example, there are some, as recycling goes well. In another, the process is costly. The high excess capacity in the incineration of several million tons per year ensure low combustion rates. They lie partly in the fact 40 to 45 Euro per Tonne. Plastic recycling costs about twice. Even with declining costs for recycling, we can arrive to this excess capacity is difficult.

Does the federal government enough in terms of resource recycling?

We would prefer more activity and consistency. In implementing the European Waste Directive into the German Recycling Law, Germany lagged behind the multiple possibilities: So we have, for example, those required by the EU Commission priority of recycling before incineration softened. Promises to burn a certain energy efficiency, it is now equivalent to the recycling. This is the opposite of priority. And the German recycling targets for the year 2020 really describe the status quo, we have 2011 have reached. That's not very ambitious.

Can counteract the new resource efficiency program Progress? It relies on more recycling and the development of product stewardship.

Would it be implemented consistently, it could counteract. , Though, is the circular economy law at. Our problem is, that the federal government relatively quickly after the other quite different signals for commodity policy sends. We would wish for a resource policy from the same mold. We are still some distance.

(Council for Sustainable Development)

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