Europe must do more to secure the supply of raw materials used in green technologies, according to the European Commission.
The commission’s policy paper on commodities and raw materials, published in February, identifies 14 critical substances needed for green technologies that have low recycling rates. These include cobalt, gallium, indium and magnesium.1
Besides increasing recycling, the EU should do more to stop the export of valuable materials in old electronic products and consider introducing rules on resource efficiency with the ecodesign regime, says the commission (ENDS Report 431, p 40).
It also suggests introducing market-based instruments that favour recycled materials, and environmental accounting rules that take into account materials flows.
Most raw materials used in the EU are imported from countries such as China, Russia and Brazil but the commission believes more mining could be encouraged in Europe.
Green MEPs were disappointed with the paper, saying it was too broad and ill-defined, with few concrete policy proposals. Its suggestions on raw materials were overshadowed by a strong focus on commodities, especially ways to address speculation in the global agricultural commodities markets, they said.