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Recycling firm starts new phase of CRM recovery project

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Almost 40% of electrical products go to landfill, says WRAP. The Critical Raw Materials Recovery project, part funded by the EU, aims to redress this.

Axion Consulting is embarking on the next phase of a major European research project into the recovery of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

As part of the project, the resource recovery specialist will be speaking and exhibiting at a one-day conference, ‘Integrating the Supply Chain for the Recovery of Critical Raw Materials from WEEE’, organised by Knowledge Transfer Network in Manchester on 15 June.

The conference aims to assess the barriers to improved recovery and recycling of CRMs throughout the whole supply chain, from the logistics of collection to advanced recovery techniques.



For the first half of the project Axion has worked with three partners to run collection trials of unwanted data-bearing devices, such as PCs, tablets, laptops and smartphones across the north of England in High Street and charity stores. The collection trials have been operational in 10 stores working with the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Currys PC World and John Lewis. Some of the collection trials will continue until August.

Axion’s Principal Consultant Jane Gardner will provide updates on these collection trials and report on how their involvement in project’s next phase, which started in May 2017, will focus on sorting, separation and recovery of CRMs from dismantled devices.

She explained: “This exciting project seeks to improve understanding, not just of consumer behaviour in recycling and reusing these devices, but also how we can recover valuable materials from them in an economically viable and efficient way.”

On the day of the event, delegates will have an opportunity to tour Axion’s large-scale processing facility, the Shredder Waste Advanced Processing Plant (SWAPP), and in-house laboratories at Trafford Park, Manchester where latest process technologies at the forefront of material recovery techniques will be used to extract the critical raw materials from components.

The conference will be of interest to those responsible for the commissioning and delivery of recycling and waste collections, sustainability managers and experts in multiple industry sectors, and researchers offering advanced recovery options for end of life products. For more information on booking, see here.

Presentations and panel discussions will provide a key opportunity to discuss the importance of integrating the whole life cycle of reuse and recovery to achieve long term sustainable solutions to the issue of recovery of critical materials from end-of-life products.

The trials are part of the Critical Raw Materials Recovery project, which is supported by the 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 in the UK. The outputs from the trials will inform policy recommendation 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).

Germany and Italy are also involved in the three-and-a-half-year sustainability project targeting an increase in recovery of rare metals from products such as consumer electronics, ICT equipment and small household appliances. WRAP research has found that almost 40% of electrical products go to landfill.

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