The Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery project has announced that the five trial partners of the project, RecyclingBoerse, Asekol, Axion Consulting, Re-Tek, and Ecodom have now completed the collection stage of the trials, with significant amounts of devices such as smart phones, laptops and personnel computers collected.
The EU LIFE funded Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery project is investing in trials exploring novel ways of boosting the collection and recovery of critical raw materials (CRMs) from household waste electrical and electronic products (WEEE). Each year millions of tonnes of WEEE is generated in the EU, but only 30% is reported as properly collected and recycled. The Critical Raw Materials Closed Loop Recovery Project aims to increase the recovery of target CRMs by 5% by 2020 and by 20% by 2030.
Trials started in July 2016 and the remaining recovery trials will be completed in 2018, with policy and infrastructure recommendations to be developed shortly afterwards.
Held across the UK, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic, the collection mechanisms included retailer take-back schemes; reuse containers at household waste recycling centres, business collections, university drop-off hubs, school collections and other collection events.
The collection trials saw the trial partners working alongside some leading industry and academic names such as; John Lewis, British Heart Foundation, Enscape, Dixons Carphone, Enviropol, Fraunhofer IWKS and Institut für Materialprüfung Glörfeld GmbH, amongst others.
Materials collected are now being tested to recover Critical Raw Materials, with a full evaluation of the collected materials being undertaken to demonstrate reuse potential and amount that is recovered from different methods used.
With a focus on the recovery of cobalt, antimony, graphite, tantalum, rare earth elements, gold, silver, platinum group metals and copper, the trials will study the potential for range of techniques from manual and chemical dismantling to electrochemical and hydrometallurgical processes, to increase recovery of Critical Raw Materials.
The collection and recovery trials were the first stage in the €2.1m, three-and-a-half-year project, which is supported by the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union, Innovate UK, the Welsh Government and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and led by WRAP. The outputs from the trials will inform policy recommendation throughout the EU.