Project looks to lift recovery of precious metals from e-scrap

By Lacey Evans, E-Scrap News A trial program in Europe is exploring more efficient ways of recovering a range of raw materials from used electronics and appliances.E-scrap / Roberto_Del_Bianco, Shutterstock

The project will focus on recovering gold, platinum, antimony, cobalt, graphite and other elements from small appliances and household electronics.

The Critical Raw Material Recovery project includes trial collection programs for e-scrap, including retailer take-back systems and drop-off collection bins at universities, businesses and other recycling events. In addition, the program will test five reprocessing and recovery techniques focused on recovering the metals.

The effort is organized by U.K.-based Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), an organization that works with governments and the private sector to boost recycling.

Other project partners include the European Advanced Recycling Network, the European Recycling Platform, Knowledge Transfer Network and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy.

According to project officials, nearly 11 million tons of e-scrap are generated in the European Union every year, but only 30 percent of it is properly collected and recycled.

The goal is to collect at least 110 tons of e-scrap and increase the recovery of raw materials by 5 percent. After the trial period, the group will release suggested infrastructure improvements and other recommendations.

The trials are happening in the U.K., Italy, Germany and Turkey and will last until 2018.