An EU project, led by WRAP, has launched a tender to explore the commercial opportunities for recovering raw materials from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
The UK-based resources charity WRAP is heading the Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery (CRM Recovery) project, which aims to improve collection and recovery of critical raw materials from electrical waste.
The €660,000 (£510,145) tender, which is the first stage in a three-and-a-half-year project, is for a series of WEEE collection and recovery trials. It aims to link collection methods, such as kerbside collections, retailer take-back schemes and postal returns, with efficient ways of dismantling and recovering electrical components and returning them to the market.
According to WRAP, as much as 40% of UK WEEE currently ends up in landfill. This trial aims to challenge current WEEE collection mechanisms and test the opportunities for increasing recovery of target materials graphite, cobalt, antimony, tantalum, rare earths, silver, gold and platinum group metals. WRAP says that these critical raw materials (CRMs) are crucial to many electrical products, and the increasing pressure on their supply is a growing economic concern for businesses and governments. Trials will focus on the collection of those items that are rich in the target materials for recovery, such as display, ICT, consumer electronics and small household appliances.
The tender is open to organisations that can demonstrate expertise in the collection and recovery of WEEE materials and asks waste collectors to demonstrate their entire collection, reuse and recovery cycle. It is hoped that the organisations that win the tender can identify the link between collection methods and the successful recovery of critical raw materials. It aims to look at viable alternative commercial streams for materials that can boost the economy while reducing our reliance on mining raw materials.
A number of the target materials have been identified in the EU's May 2014 critical raw materials list. This lists materials essential for EU industry but which are at high supply risk, with reliance on imports from only a few producing countries and low recycling rates.
WRAP says that findings from the EU LIFE-funded project will be fed back into the European Commission as policy recommendations and proposals for development in the effective recovery and recycling of these WEEE materials. Dr Liz Goodwin OBE, WRAP Chief Executive, says of the project: “We’re delighted to lead this project which will find effective routes for collecting and recovering valuable materials from electrical and electronic products. I look forward to seeing how these new insights inform the bigger picture, demonstrating the economic and environmental benefits of making better use of resources across Europe.”
The closing date for tender applications is 7 April 2016. Four countries are participating in the project: the UK, Germany, Italy and Turkey. Collection trials will take place in the participating countries and recovery trials must happen in any EU member state.
For full details on the tender and how to apply click here.
Clarity Environmental runs an initiative to increase recycling rates of WEEE and help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill or illegally exported. Our national network of disposal sites offers free alternative recycling solutions to civic amenity sites. If you are a site manager for an AATF and are interested in joining our Recycle with Clarity network, contact Vikkie Fitzgerald, Project Manager, on 01273 929212 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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