A new project – Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery (CRM Recovery) – has been established to explore commercial opportunities for harvesting critical raw materials and precious metals including gold, silver and platinum group metals, from everyday unwanted electronic products.
WRAP, the Knowledge Transfer Network, the Wuppertal Institute, ERP UK Ltd and the European Advanced Recycling Network are working together on what will be a first-of-its-kind project to link collection methods with recovery success.
Over the course of the three and a half year project, which has received €2.1m EU Life funding, CRM Recovery aims to increase the recovery of a range of critical raw materials by 5% from products such as consumer electronics, ICT equipment and small household appliances.
The project will link collection methods, such as 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.
Policy Recommendations To The EU
The 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 these precious and critical raw materials. Four countries will participate – 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.
Dr Liz Goodwin OBE, CEO, WRAP said: “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”.
Scott Butler, UK and Ireland Regional Director, ERP added: “ERP UK is supporting the CRM Recovery project because we believe this vital area of research will benefit our producer members and help to achieve a circular economy. The environmental and economic gains from the project’s findings could have a profound effect on the electronics industry and the wider economy.”