Recovery of the Critical Raw Materials and innovative methodologies for WEEE collection and treatment

Project duration: 2015 - 2019

The CRM Closed Loop Recovery Project analyses the WEEE management issue, studying the way for the recovery of the CRM they contain. In fact, for materials such as cobalt, antimony, graphite, tantalum, rare-earth metals, gold, silver, platinum and copper the recovery target has been set at 5% for 2020 and at 20% for 2030.

Different aspects has been investigated during the four phases of the project:

  • implementation of new collection methods;
  • development of new treatment methods;
  • comparison of the achieved results in different European Countries (the Project implemented in parallel trials performed by English, German and Czech partners);
  • development of specific policy recommendations for the CRM recovery.

We at ECODOM, as coordinators of the Italian trial, worked in accordance with the target of Collect more, collect better.

Collecting more means raising the public awareness on the correct disposal of specific products with a high content of critical materials, usually forgotten in drawers or disposed incorrectly; collecting better means defining the collection methods to make the subsequent treatment steps more efficient.

The Research focus - The WEEE treatment – has been optimized in the second phase of the Project, testing the effectiveness of the different approaches: the preparation for re-use of the flat panel displays, the improvement of the current WEEE treatment recovery strategies, the development of a hydro- metallurgical process for the extraction of graphite and cobalt from batteries.