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Two British companies and the Italian consortium Ecodom win funding for home appliance disposal.
Italy plays its part with the pioneers of the circular economy: an Italian project is among the three winners of the funding set up by Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery, an international project promoted by ERP (European Recycling Platform) in cooperation with WRAP, EARN, the Wuppertal Institute, and KTN, with the support of the EU financial tool LIFE. The aim of the project is to increase the recovery rate of valuable materials from WEEE (Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment).
The call for tender was open for Italy, Germany, UK, and Turkey: the winners were the Italian consortium Ecodom, which works for the collection and recycling of home appliances, and the British companies Axion Consulting and Re-Tek.
“Ecodom is really proud to have the opportunity to increase the recovery rate of critical raw materials from WEEE – says Luca Campadello, Projects & Researches Manager at Ecodom – The winning idea of our project is simple: the most relevant devices (cellphones, smartphones, video games, PCs, tablets, video cameras) and reusable devices will be collected and treated separately from the other ones, in order to increase the concentration of critical materials and make it easier to recover them”.
The winning projects propose new ways to organise the collection and process innovations to improve the efficiency of the recovery process of critical materials (cobalt, antimony, graphite, tantalum, rare earth elements, gold, silver, platinum, copper) from end-of-life devices.
Thanks to the funding, this month the three projects will enter an experimentation phase in order to assess their large-scale feasibility and sustainability. This phase will end on June 30th 2018.
The overall goal of Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery is quite ambitious: reaching a 5% increase in the recovery of critical components from WEEE by 2020. These materials are extremely valuable but increasingly rare in nature.
To date, EU countries generate about 9.9 million tons of WEEE every year. Only 30% of this amount is correctly treated and recycled, while the recovery rate of the valuable and rare raw materials is only 1%.
“We are happy that one of the winners of the funding is Italian, it’s a sign of the fact that our country has the skills, project competences and top technologies required to further improve the recovery of secondary raw materials” comments Umberto Raiteri, President and CEO of the collective system ERP SAS, an EU leader in the field of WEEE and WBA (Waste Batteries and Accumulators) management.
The critical raw material collection and recovery tests are just the first step of a project worth €2.1 million for three and a half years supported by the EU financial tool LIFE and guided by WRAP. The partners of the project are ERP (European Recycling Platform), EARN (European Advanced Recycling Network), the Wuppertal Institute, and KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network). The results of the experimentation phase will serve to formulate new EU guidelines for WEEE collection, treatment and recycling.