Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery project finishes first stage of collection trials

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The Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery project, which aims to boost electrical waste collection and the recovery process of critical raw materials (CRMs) from households, has finished its first stage of trials. 

The trial, which was conducted by five trial partners, RecyclingBoerse, Asekol, Axion Consulting, RE-Tek and Ecodom, found that significant quantities of devices including phones, laptops and personal computers were collected. 

According to the project’s funder, EU Life, millions of tonnes of WEEE is generated in the EU, with only 30% being correctly collected and recycled. 

The project has a target of increasing the CRMs by 5% by 2020, and 20% by 2030. 

Trials began in July 2016, with the remaining recovery trials to be completed in 2018.  

This project was held across the UK, Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic, with the collection mechanisms consisting of retail take-back schemes, reuse containers at household waste recycling facilities, business collections, university drop-off hubs and school collections.  

The collected materials are currently being tested to recover CRMs, with an examination of the materials being undertaken to demonstrate the amount that is recovered from various methods. 

As the focus was on the recovery of cobalt, antimony, graphite, tantalum, rare earth elements, gold, silver, platinum group metals and copper, trials will continue to explore the potential range of techniques to increase the recovery of CRMs. 

Collections and recovery trials were the first stage of the three-and-a-half-year project, which is supported by LIFE financial instrument of the European Union, Innovate UK, the Welsh Government and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and led by WRAP.  

The results from the trials will help policy recommendations throughout the EU. 

Project partners include the European Recycling Platform (ERP), the European Advanced Recycling Network (EARN), the Wuppertal Institute and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).