Even for metals, open-loop recycling is more common than closed-loop recycling due, among other factors, to the degradation of quality in the end-of-life (EoL) phase. Open-loop recycling is subject to loss of functionality of original materials, dissipation in forms that are difficult to recover, and recovered metals might need dilution with primary metals to meet quality requirements. Sustainable management of metal resources calls for the minimization of these losses. Imperative to this is quantitative tracking of the fate of materials across different stages, products, and losses. A new input-output analysis (IO) based model of dynamic material flow analysis (MFA) is presented that can trace the fate of materials over time and across products in open-loop recycling taking explicit consideration of losses and the quality of scrap into account. Application to car steel recovered from EoL vehicles (ELV) showed that after 50 years around 80% of the steel is used in products, mostly buildings and civil engineering (infrastructure), with the rest mostly resided in unrecovered obsolete infrastructure and refinery losses. Sensitivity analysis was conducted to evaluate the effects of changes in product lifespan, and the quality of scrap.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry