Welcome to the July/August issue of Materials World.

Our features this month are themed on the circular economy and tackle critical information-gathering activities to embed circular economy principles across a range of materials and sectors.

In an article on the circulation of metals, members of the IOM3 Iron & Steel Group sum up the conundrum of repurposing materials and products, as outlined in a paper by American economist George Akerlof.

‘Used products are characterised by variable quality and this quality is difficult to quantify in a marketplace. This creates an “information asymmetry” in the market where sellers know more than buyers about product quality.

‘This information asymmetry favours the sale of poor-quality products, resulting in low prices and market failure. Avoiding this failure will require efficient and cost-effective techniques that extract the critical information from end-of-life products to indicate their quality.’

We hope you enjoy this issue.