Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

A world without electronic waste

The defossilization of our economy requires that materials for renewable energy conversion technologies are themselves green, renewable and circular. To this end, components such as batteries, electronic devices and electric motors should be recycled and regenerated, and produced solely from secondary raw materials.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Garside, M. Major countries in worldwide cobalt mine production from 2010 to 2020. Cobalt - mine production by major countries 2010–2020. Statista (2021).

  2. Katz-Lavigne, S. Artisanal copper mining and conflict at the intersection of property rights and corporate strategies in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Extr. Ind. Soc. 6, 399–406 (2019).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Callaway, A. Powering down corruption. Tackling transparancy and human rights risks from Congo’s cobalt mines to global supply chains. Enough Project (2018).

  4. Heimes, H. H. et al. Lithium-ion battery cell production process. RWTH Aachen Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components and VDMA (2018).

  5. Curry, C. Lithium-ion battery costs and market: squeezed margins seek technology improvements & new business models. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (2017).

  6. Sommerfeld, M. et al. A Combined pyro- and hydrometallurgical approach to recycle pyrolyzed lithium-ion battery black mass part 1: production of lithium concentrates in an electric arc furnace. Metals 10, 1069 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Georgi-Maschler, T., Friedrich, B., Weyhe, R., Heegn, H. & Rutz, M. Development of a recycling process for Li-ion batteries. J. Power Sources 207, 173–182 (2012).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



The authors contributed equally to all aspects of the article.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anke Weidenkaff.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Related links

Mandatory collection rate of at least 45%:

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Weidenkaff, A., Wagner-Wenz, R. & Veziridis, A. A world without electronic waste. Nat Rev Mater 6, 462–463 (2021).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing