This report is a background document used by several European Commission services to prepare the EC report on critical raw materials and the circular economy, a commitment of the European Commission made in its Communication ‘EU action plan for the Circular Economy’. It represents a JRC contribution to the Raw Material Initiative and to the EU Circular Economy Action Plan. It combines the results of several research programmes and activities of the JRC on critical raw materials in a context of circular economy, for which a large team has contributed in terms of data and knowledge developments. Circular use of critical raw materials in the EU is analysed, also taking a sectorial perspective. The following sectors are analysed in more detail: mining waste, landfills, electric and electronic equipment, batteries, automotive, renewable energy, defence and chemicals and fertilisers. Conclusions and opportunities for further work are also presented.