Metals as backbone of the circular economy
Metals are the most recycled and recyclable materials. Metals are the backbone of the circular economy.
Metals are part of our daily life. They play a major role in our mobility, our housing or as packaging for our food and beverage. Metals will continue to be a key enabler in the future society where mobility, housing and food have been identified as key areas by the Word Business Council for Sustainable Development in their “Vision 2050”.
Metals are largely used thanks to their mechanical properties as high strength-to-weight ratio providing high mechanical resistance with limited material. Thanks to their high stiffness, metals can span big distances, allowing more design freedom.
Durability is also a key asset of metals. Metal-based solutions are weatherproof, seismic proof, corrosion resistant and immune to UV rays, ensuring a very long service life without degradation. Among other important properties we can mention castability, formability or conductibility. All these properties contribute to make metals as key enablers for many applications of today and tomorrow society.
Contrary to many materials, metals present a unique asset: their recyclability. Indeed, metals can be recycled without loss of quality. Because metallic bonds are fully restored through melting and solidification, metals continually recover their original performance properties, even after multiple recycling loops. This allows them to be used again and again for new applications. Hence, thanks to their economic value, metal scrap are systematically recycled saving significant resources and contributing already today to the circular economy.
As a result, the sustainability of metals can only be assessed properly through a life cycle approach of a specific application in which production, use and the end of life recycling are considered.
Using life cycle approach to assess sustainability aspects of metals is a significant part of the activities of Metals Sustainability Consulting.