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EU funds Euro 2 million e-scrap materials project

United Kingdom – The UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has joined a consortium of industry parties including the Wuppertal Institute in Germany and ERP UK Ltd for a Euro 2.1 million EU-funded project which aims to ‘explore commercial opportunities’ for harvesting critical raw materials and precious metals from e-scrap. The initiative is claimed to be the first of its kind to link collection methods with recovery success.

Over the course of the three-and-a-half-year project, CRM Recovery will seek to increase the recovery of a range of critical materials by 5% from products such as consumer electronics, ICT equipment and small household appliances. The project will link kerbside collections, retailer take-back schemes or postal returns to how the material components of these products can be ‘efficiently dismantled, recovered and returned to the market’.

The four participating countries of the UK, Germany, Italy and Turkey represent ‘varying maturity stages’ of recovery development, allowing cross-comparison so that a Europe-wide framework can be developed. 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 precious and critical raw materials.

According to WRAP, approximately 40% of e-scrap is landfilled after disposal. The organisation’s ceo Dr Liz Goodwin is looking forward to seeing how the new insights inform the bigger picture, thus ‘demonstrating the economic and environmental benefits of making better use of resources across Europe’.

Dr Henning Wilts, co-ordinator of the Waste and Resource Efficiency research programme at the Wuppertal Institute, insists the recovery of critical raw materials is of utmost importance for many modern technologies requiring specific metals. ‘Recovering these materials enables the closure of material loops and provides greater opportunities for continuous innovation,’ he underlines.

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