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$2.3M Recycling Partnership Focuses on Critical Raw Materials Recovery

erecyclingThe UK’s Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP), in partnership with the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Wuppertal Institute, the European Recycling Platform (ERP) and the European Advanced Recycling Network (EARN), will explore commercial opportunities for harvesting critical raw materials (CRM) and precious metals, including gold, silver and platinum group metals, from unwanted electronic products.

The $2.3 million EU LIFE-funded project, Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery (CRM Recovery), is the first of its kind to link collection methods with recovery success.

Increasing pressure on the supply of CRMs for electronic products is a growing economic concern for businesses and governments. WRAP research indicates that nearly 40 percent of electrical products go to landfill after disposal. CRM Recovery will explore viable alternative commercial streams that boost the economy, and sustainable solutions that reduce reliance on the earth’s natural capital and the need for mining raw materials.

The project will run for three and a half years and aims to increase by 5 percent the recovery of a range of CRMs from products such as consumer electronics, ICT equipment and small household appliances.

The project will link collection methods, such as curbside collections, retailer take-back programs and postal returns, to how the material components of these products can be efficiently dismantled, recovered and returned to the market. Findings will be fed back to the European Commission in the form of policy recommendations and proposals for infrastructure development for the cost-effective recovery of CRMs.

Participating countries include the UK, Germany, Italy and Turkey, with each country representing varying maturity stages of recovery development, allowing cross-comparison so that a European-wide framework can be developed.

Photo credit: e-recycling via Shutterstock

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