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Preserving value in EU industrial materials - A value perspective on the use of steel, plastics and aluminium

Preserving value in EU industrial materials

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Author: 
Robert Westerdahl, Per Klevnäs, Per-Anders Enkvist
Publication Date: 
November, 2020
Country: 
Sweden

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So far, the debate on material use and recycling has primarily been held in terms of tonnes, cubic metres, and environmental impact. This is all highly relevant, but a focus on volumes and flows also leaves important questions unanswered.

The report takes a step towards painting a more complete picture, taking an economic value perspective on material flows, and it assesses Europe’s use of steel, plastics and aluminium in terms of Euros instead of tonnes. Its objective is to answer the following questions:

  1. When 100 Euros worth of raw materials enter the European economy, how much economic value is retained after one cycle of use?
  2. What are the main reasons for loss of material value?
  3. How could more value be retained?
  4. What business opportunities arise as a result?