Ausdruck der Seite: REMONDIS > Shortage of raw material
A responsible environmental service sector creates the framework conditions for a reduced demand and fairer distribution of our resources.
One world is not enough.
No Raw Materials – No High Standard of Living.
Humans are living above their means: for years now, the world’s population has been consuming more natural reserves than the Earth is able to produce. If life continues at this pace, then our raw material reserves will be used up more and more quickly and some will have become scarce before the end of this century. Raw materials are the basis of our lives. They provide food, heat and light and are the basis of practically all the things we need every day. The Earth’s resources are being mined at an ever greater rate so that we can maintain the standards we have become accustomed to. This not only affects the fossil fuels, i.e. oil, coal and gas, but also minerals, metals and other base materials.
No raw material is infinite
Huge volumes of raw materials are already needed today and demand is increasing all the time. Our planet’s reserves are being used up at an ever faster rate. Experts warn that certain materials may even become scarce during this century, e.g. some of the rare earths but also various bulk raw materials. If we run out of raw materials, this will have very serious consequences as modern life is very resource-intensive. Handling these valuable materials efficiently is one of the biggest challenges of our time. And REMONDIS’ core business.
The need for raw materials is growing
Technological, economic and demographic developments are speeding up the consumption of raw materials.As a result, natural reserves are being depleted at an ever faster rate. Eight million people will be living on Earth in 2025 – almost one fifth more than the population today. Much greater volumes will be needed, therefore, to supply the world’s population.
The high consumption rate of the industrial nations is currently still being compensated for by the low consumption rate of poorer countries. However, the rise of the threshold countries is leading to an increase in demand there, too. Technological progress is also taking its toll: new developments are extending areas of use. Many basic materials will, therefore, be needed in much greater quantities in the future. This situation is further aggravated by the fact that several kinds of future technologies rely on the same raw materials, some of which are very rare.
Volatile raw materials markets
The effects of the looming shortages can already be felt. One indicator of this is the often tense situation on the raw materials markets. Global prices are spiralling as supply and demand are no longer in harmony. Whilst some raw materials can be substituted with other materials, many will remain indispensable. Countries, with few natural resources, are for the most part or even fully dependent on imports. There will be serious consequences if they are unable to import the materials required in sufficient quantities and at acceptable prices: everyday products will become a rarity and, as a result, unaffordable. Today’s standard of living will no longer be able to be maintained.
Recycling guarantees supplies
Those people who believe a solution to this problem does not need to be found until the natural raw materials have actually run out are making a mistake. If the raw materials, that are urgently needed, become rarer and more expensive, then they will also become more and more coveted. Political scientists and futurologists assume that disputes over natural reserves will increase in the future.
Supplying primary raw materials involves risks
Many natural reserves are found in just a few regions. The countries which mine the materials dominate the market. They can cut their production or restrict exports. The unbalanced distribution structure is also leading to insecurity: over the long-term the situation cannot remain the same with industrial nations consuming more than they are statistically entitled to. The emerging countries will increasingly assert their rights. For, raw materials must not be used up by just a few countries or by just a few generations.
Furthermore, the mining of primary raw materials often results in huge damage being done to nature: forests are being cut down,
The solution: recovering materials
Consistent recycling is necessary if long-term supplies of the raw materials are to be guaranteed. Modern water management ensures that people have sufficient supplies of this life-sustaining element. An efficient environmental service sector returns used material to the production cycle as high quality raw materials. This conserves natural resources, extends their lifetime and contributes towards ensuring the bases of our standards of living are maintained.
Standards of living and the supply of raw materials are closely intertwined!
Some raw materials are needed in bulk, others are essential even in very small amounts. In the worst case scenario, supply bottlenecks of raw materials will prevent the spread of future-oriented innovations.