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Metal recycling rates low, UNEP finds

BRUSSELS, May 27 (UPI) -- Even though metal is one of the more easily recyclable materials, recycling rates are "disarmingly low," a U.N. environment report from Brussels said.

A report released from Brussels by the U.N. Environment Program finds that less than 30 percent of the metals studied have a recycling rate more than 50 percent and 34 elements have a recycling rate less than 1 percent.

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"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," it says.

The report adds that many of the unrecycled materials are key ingredients in batteries used for electric vehicles and magnets that make up parts of wind turbines.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said most of the metals and materials outlined in the report can be reused, saving time and energy as the world moves toward a greener economy.

"Raising levels of recycling worldwide can therefore contribute to a transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient green economy while assisting to generate green jobs," he said in a statement.

The UNEP report adds that the era of cheap materials is coming to an end. Most metals, the report adds, are "inherently recyclable."

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