Many materials used by the EU industry come from secondary or recycled sources. Producing goods using recycled materials is often much less energy intensive than manufacturing goods from virgin materials. Recycling can thus reduce production costs and carbon emissions. Even though it cannot meet the EU industry's entire demand for raw materials, recycling has a great potential to improve Europe's resource efficiency. Using lower quantities of materials in product design can also play a part in improving access to raw materials in Europe.
In the Raw Materials Initiative Communication published on 2 February 2011, the Commission proposed measures to improve how recycling markets work through:
The Raw Materials Initiative also sets out actions to improve the enforcement of EU rules on how waste may be traded. In particular, this strategy aims to tackle illegal shipments of waste from Europe to non-OECD countries where the treatment of waste often results in damage to the environment and a permanent loss of material.