WEEE Fund looks to increase recycling of unwanted electricals

2 min read

Two new research projects have been allocated funding from the WEEE Fund’s Technical Research programme. WEEE stands for ‘Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment’.

Anthesis Group and Giraffe Innovation will use the funding to explore how innovation and investment in the future of recycling infrastructure can be enhanced.

Giraffe Innovation will identify current research and development, and near ready technologies, that have the potential to improve the recovery of CRMs from WEEE. The research will identify pipeline CRM recovery technologies, assess their suitability for incorporation into the UK WEEE treatment facilities, their potential recovery efficiency, and cost benefits. End-of-life recovery rates of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) from waste electricals is currently low, with less than 1% in many cases in UK/ Europe.

Anthesis Group will explore the role of a potential investment fund to enable the WEEE sector to respond progressively to increase recycling rates, improve sortation technologies, particularly plastics, and treatment requirements. It is hoped that a WEEE specific investment fund could be transformative in helping the sector meet the challenges of recycling more small waste electricals in the future.

Scott Butler, WEEE Fund Executive Director, commented, “As unwanted electricals are one of the fastest growing waste streams in Europe it’s vital that we find innovative and progressive ways to increase our recycling rates in the UK.

“This research will play a key role in helping us identify innovative ways to ensure that we are able to extract as many of our critical raw materials from our unwanted electricals. Equally it's just as important that we identify ways to grow our infrastructure for recycling unwanted electricals.The research will explore the possible role of a UK investment fund to help support this growth. Together these research projects will provide us with some of the knowledge to innovate the sector and support the increase in recycling rates.”

Dr Richard Peagam, Associate Director, Anthesis Group, said, “We are delighted to be working on this project with the WEEE fund. The sector faces a number of challenges over the coming years, which will require a considerable investment in our infrastructure. Dedicated access to funding could activate a more circular economy in the UK, which will need to be supported with robust analytics and a clear strategy, to have maximum impact.”

Professor Robert Holdway, Director, Giraffe Innovation, added, “As the sophistication of everyday products and new green technologies increases so does the use of CRMs to enable functionality and performance factors. However, while the UK is heavily dependent on these materials the recycling and recovery rates are extremely low. The main purpose of the project is to identify and analyse current research and near ready technologies with the potential to improve the recovery of CRMs from WEEE.”