A European project has launched a tender to help investigate improved collection and recovery of critical raw materials from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
WRAP’s £1.6m Critical Raw Materials Closed Loop Recovery Project, launched last year, aims to increase the recovery of target critical raw materials by 5% by 2020 and by 20% by 2030.
More than £515,000 of this is now being invested in trials for suppliers to demonstrate the entire collection, reuse and recovery cycle in their tender.
Collection trials must take place in the UK, Germany, Italy or Turkey, while the recovery trials can happen in any EU member state.
Outputs from the trials, which are the first stage in the three-and-a-half-year project supported by the EU’s LIFE fund, Innovate UK and the Welsh Government, will inform policy recommendation throughout the EU.
WRAP director Marcus Gover said: “WRAP research has shown that, in the UK alone, we dispose of around 1.4 million tonnes of electrical and electronic products per year, and nearly 40% of this is landfilled.
“Yet these products contain critical raw materials such as gold and platinum, which are essential components of many household technology products and appliances. Economically and environmentally, it makes no sense to be burying them.
“Ensuring we have effective ways to recover valuable materials is crucial, so these trials are an important step in the development of the project.”
Other project partners include the European Recycling Platform (ERP), the European Advanced Recycling Network (EARN), the Wuppertal Institute and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).
KTN head of sustainability and resource efficiency Steve Fletcher said: “Proposals are sought from industry stakeholders with expertise in the collection and recovery of WEEE and the drive to challenge current thinking. The open tender process will offer all those with the right knowledge and expertise the chance to take part in these exciting trials.”
ERP UK and Ireland regional director Scott Butler said: “These trials could have major benefits for producers and the circular economy, as well as the environment and society as a whole.”
EARN WEEE operations manager Kai Kramer said: “The trials will be a unique opportunity to build synergies by sharing the experiences of collection and recovery activities by various actors in different countries.”
Bids from single entities or consortia are equally encouraged until the closing date for applications on 7 April.
Each year around 9.9 million tonnes of WEEE are generated in the EU with 30% reported as properly collected and recycled.