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International Resource Panel launches metals recycling report

Embargoed media briefings in London and Brussels on 26 May

Failure to recycle many metals around the world not only causes wasted resources and environmental damage, it threatens shortages of elements essential to modern technologies, according to the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the problem.

"In spite of significant efforts in a number of countries and regions, many metal recycling rates are discouragingly low, and a 'recycling society' appears no more than a distant hope," the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) states in a new report, the first attempt to gather accurate and consistent information about the extent to which metals are collected, processed and reused in new products.

The weak performance is especially frustrating because, unlike most other resources, metals are "inherently recyclable," says the study, Recycling Rates of Metals: A Status Report, compiled by the UNEP-hosted International Resource Panel.

The study found less than one-third of some 60 metals studied have an end-of-life recycling rate above 50 per cent; 34 elements are below 1 per cent recycling.

To learn more about this report you are invited to attend one of two media briefings being held to launch the report on Thursday, 26 May.

To receive an advance copy of the report, please contact one of the contact people listed on this advisory.

Please note: the report and all documents relating to it are STRICTLY EMBARGOED until 14:30 Brussels time (12:30 GMT) on May 26.

In London:

London Metal Exchange,

56 Leadenhall Street, London, EC3A 2DX

Room: Boardroom

Time: 9.15am (local time)


  • Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson

  • Professor Thomas Graedel, Director of the Center for Industrial Ecology, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, lead author of the report and member of the International Resource Panel

  • John Atherton, Director, International Council on Mining and Metals

  • Chris Evans, Head of Business Development, London Metal Exchange

In Brussels (registration for Green Week required; as online registration has closed, those not already registered but wishing to attend should register in person at the venue on the day):

European Commission Charlemagne Building,

Rue de la Loi 170, Brussels

Room: Salon Rouge

Time: 14:30 (local time)


  • Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary General, UNEP Executive Director

  • Karl Falkenberg, Director General ENV-EC

  • Professor Mark Swilling, Programme Coordinator for Sustainable Development, School of Public Management and Planning, Stellenbosch University, and member of the International Resource Panel

  • Stephan Csoma, Senior Vice President, Umicore

  • Matthias Buchert, Director, Head of Infrastructure & Enterprises Division, Íko-Institut e.V

    For further information, or to arrange advance interviews:

    Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson/Head of Media, on: + 254 20 7623084, mobile: + 254 733 632755 / +41 79 596 57 37, e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

    Moira O'Brien-Malone, UNEP Information Officer, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, Paris, + 33-1-4437-7612, mobile +33 6 82 26 93 73, email: moira.obrien-malone@unep.org

    Terry Collins, +1-416-538-8712; mobile: +1-416-878-8712, email: TerryCollins@rogers.com

    Isabelle Valentiny, UNEP Information Officer, Regional Office of Europe, + 41 22 917 8404,

    mobile: + 41 79 251 8236, e-mail: isabelle.valentiny@unep.org

    James Morris, UNEP Information Officer, Brussels Liaison Office to the EU, +32 2 213 30 59, mobile +32 485 64 19 66, e-mail james.morris@unep.org

    Full Release