Study: Lack of recycling threatens future of hybrid, plug-in vehicles

A UN-backed report released late last week warns that lack of recycling threatens the future of hybrid and plug-on vehicles. In particular, the report, issued by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), claims that:
Less than one third of metals globally have a recycling rate of more than 50 percent. Many metal recycling rates are discouragingly low, and a recycling society appears no more than a distant hope. This is especially true for many specialty metals, which are crucial ingredients for key emerging technologies.
Jacqueline McGlade, director of the European Environment Agency, added that:
All the clean technologies – batteries, hybrid cars, magnets in wind turbines for example – they are relying on metals for which we have extremely low rates of recycling.
The UNEP report, which touched on all metals, shows that lead has one of the highest global recycling rates at approximately 80 percent. Meanwhile, the UNEP says that there is virtually no recycling for neodymium, dysprosium and lanthanum – rare earth metals commonly found in hybrid and plug-in vehicles. Of course, without recycling, continued use of these metals could quickly exhaust the available supply.

[Source: Ward's Auto – sub. req.]

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