Two new research projects allocated support from WEEE Fund

Two new research projects have been allocated funding from the WEEE Fund’s Technical Research programme.

These have been awarded to Anthesis Group and Giraffe Innovation. Up to £90,000 is being invested in research to explore how innovation and investment in the future of recycling infrastructure can be enhanced.

Scott Butler, WEEE Fund Executive Director, said: “As unwanted electricals are one of the fastest growing waste streams in Europe it’s vital that we find innovative and progressive ways to increase our recycling rates in the UK.

This research will play a key role in helping us identify innovative ways to ensure that we are able to extract as many of our critical raw materials from our unwanted electricals. Equally it’s just as important that we identify ways to grow our infrastructure for recycling unwanted electricals.

The research will explore the possible role of a UK investment fund to help support this growth. Together these research projects will provide us with some of the knowledge to innovate the sector and support the increase in recycling rates.”

The two research projects

End-of-life recovery rates of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) from waste electricals remain low with less than 1% in many cases in UK/ Europe.

The research, Technology Roadmap and Taxonomy of Critical Raw Material recovery technologies for WEEE, conducted by Giraffe Innovation, will identify current research and development, and near ready technologies that have the potential to improve the recovery of CRMs from WEEE.

The research will identify pipeline CRM recovery technologies, assess their suitability for incorporation into the UK WEEE treatment facilities, their potential recovery efficiency, and cost benefits.

The second project, Evaluating opportunities for establishing an infrastructure investment fund for WEEE, conducted by Anthesis Group, will explore the role of a potential investment fund to enable the WEEE sector to respond progressively to increase recycling rates, improve sortation technologies, particularly plastics, and treatment requirements.

The sector faces a number of challenges over the coming years, which will require a considerable investment in our infrastructure

A WEEE specific investment fund could be transformative in helping the sector as a whole meet the challenges of recycling more small waste electricals in the future.

Dr Richard Peagam, Associate Director, Anthesis Group, said: “We are delighted to be working on this project with the WEEE fund. The sector faces a number of challenges over the coming years, which will require a considerable investment in our infrastructure.

“Dedicated access to funding could activate a more circular economy in the UK, which will need to be supported with robust analytics and a clear strategy, to have maximum impact.”

Professor Robert Holdway, Director, Giraffe Innovation, said: “As the sophistication of everyday products and new green technologies increases so does the use of CRMs to enable functionality and performance factors. However, while the UK is heavily dependent on these materials the recycling and recovery rates are extremely low.

“The main purpose of the project is to identify and analyse current research and near ready technologies with the potential to improve the recovery of CRMs from WEEE.”

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