Executive Board Chairman Roland Harings discusses challenges, approaches, and hard decisions.
A brief overview of our business model, and why recycling is becoming more and more important to us as a driver of earnings.
What recycling raw materials do we use, what innovations are we researching, and what trends benefit us? Three behind-the-scenes reports.
A discussion with Prof. Reuter on why we have to rethink product design and an interview with Ms. von Hahn about how Aurubis helps shape metal recycling from a political angle.
A report on the dialogue between the companies TKF and Aurubis about CO2 emissions, closed loops, and why metals are here to stay.
Design for Recycling
Inconvenient truths of the circular economy
Everyone’s talking about recycling. It feels like Europe is the global leader in this area. “Unfortunately, that’s not always the case,” says metallurgy and recycling expert Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Markus Reuter. He’s been researching and implementing system methods and technology in this field both in academia and industry for over 35 years, sometimes drawing attention to inconvenient truths and challenges – but also pointing out opportunities for a better future.
Prof. Reuter, we’re now recycling more than ever. Isn’t that enough?
That’s why the EU is pressing ahead with the circular economy (CE).
Reuter: The image of the closed loop of the CE is a convenient one. It conveys the impression that everything that enters the cycle also emerges in a way that can ultimately be used again without the use of energy. The inconvenient truth is that closing the loop is impossible! Therefore, an honest discussion involves speaking transparently about losses in the process: in the form of energy, metals, and dust, for example. There are technological and economic limits to closing the loop. As a result, policy conditions are necessary that promote recycling instead of hindering it.
"True recycling means recovering and producing valuable, high-purity raw materials from old products for reuse in high-tech products."Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Markus Reuter
What do you mean by hindering?
Are there any positive examples?
And what could that look like?
NO LEAD, NO CIRCULAR ECONOMYLead – like copper – functions as a key metal collector in multi-metal recycling. Lead makes the circular economy (CE) possible in the first place by helping recover metals such as gold, silver, bismuth, and antimony.
Are manufacturers already doing this?
What can the smelter industry contribute?
Reuter: Smelters are a key enabler of the material cycle within the CE, as they are familiar with technical and economic limits. Routine communication with product manufacturers is just as important as dialogue with the public about what is feasible and what is not; existing digital twins help with this.