3 circular economy approaches to reduce demand for critical metals

Read the full story from the World Economic Forum.

We need a clean energy revolution, and we need it now. But this transition from fossil fuels to renewables will need large supplies of critical metals such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, to name a few. Shortages of these critical minerals could raise the costs of clean energy technologies.

One obvious route is to mine more virgin material, but this comes with its own costs and potentially unintended consequences. Another solution commonly discussed is to recycle more and use the metals already in circulation. The complication is that we do not currently have enough metals in circulation, and even with recycling taken into consideration, mineral production is still forecasted to increase by nearly 500%. So how should we proceed?

A fully circular economy is much more than recycling; it is keeping materials at their highest value. It is time to look beyond circular materials. These three mindset changes can help reduce demand for critical metals.

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