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Recycling of rare earths from fluorescent lamps: Value analysis of closing-the-loop under demand and supply uncertainties

  • Erika Machacek
  • Jessika Luth Richter
  • Komal Habib
  • Polina Klossek
Publishing year: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 76-93
Publication/Series: Resources, Conservation & Recycling
Volume: 104
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Rare earth element (REE) recycling remains low at 1%, despite significant uncertainties related to future supply and demand and EU 2020 energy efficiency objectives. We use a global production network framework of REE flows from mine to REE phosphors in energy-efficient lamps to illustrate the potential of closed-loop recycling for secondary supply under different scenarios of primary supply and forecasted demand for LEDs, CFLs and LFLs. We find that different End-of-Life Recycling Rate scenarios for REE secondary supply range between meeting forecasted REE demand and filling primary supply gaps, and competing with primary supply. Our argument centres on diversifying REE sourcing with recycling and the choice between primary and secondary supply. We stress that secondary REE phosphor supply requires further policy support for lamp collection and a discussion of the value of REE phosphor recycling which underlies its economic feasibility.


  • Economic Geography
  • Rare earth elements
  • Energy-efficient lamps
  • Global production network
  • Recycling
  • Resource conservation
  • Circular economy


  • ISSN: 0921-3449
Jessika Luth Richter
E-mail: jessika_luth [dot] richter [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

Doctoral student

The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

+46 46 222 02 82

+46 72 944 22 97



International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: Tegnérsplatsen 4,Lund

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