Circular economy is a new economic model that aims to eliminate waste and pollution while reducing the use of natural resources. The concept of circular economy has been widely adopted in the context of metals and the manufacturing industry, as both sectors are significant contributors to environmental degradation and resource depletion. In the manufacturing sector, metals are used extensively in the production of various products and components. To achieve a circular economy in this industry, it is crucial to optimize the use of metals and minimize their impact on the environment.
A study case that exemplifies the application of circular economy in the context of metals and manufacturing is the closed-loop recycling of aluminum. Aluminum is one of the most widely used metals in the manufacturing sector, but its extraction, production, and disposal pose significant environmental and social challenges. To address these issues, the aluminum industry has developed closed-loop recycling processes that allow for the recycling of aluminum products and their conversion into new products with minimum loss of quality or performance.
One example is the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI), which aims to promote responsible production and use of aluminum throughout the value chain. The ASI has established a certification program that assesses and certifies companies based on their performance in areas such as environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and governance. By promoting responsible practices, the ASI encourages the development of a circular economy for aluminum, reducing the impact of aluminum production and consumption on the environment.
Another example is the closed-loop recycling of electronic waste, which contains a significant amount of precious and critical metals. In this context, the circular economy approach involves the collection, sorting, and recycling of electronic waste to recover metals and other valuable materials. The recovered metals are then used to produce new products, closing the loop and reducing the need for the extraction of primary resources.
In conclusion, circular economy offers a promising solution for optimizing the use of metals in the manufacturing industry and reducing their environmental impact. By promoting the closed-loop recycling of metals, the circular economy model offers a more sustainable and resource-efficient approach to metal production and consumption.
- Aluminium Stewardship Initiative. (2021). About ASI.
- Eurostat. (2021). Resource efficiency and the circular economy.
- International Energy Agency. (2021). Resource efficiency: policies and measures.