Project duration: 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2020

Objective

In Europe, Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams with high metal and impurity concentrations. Critical raw materials (CRMs) – defined in Europe as materials important to European economy but at the same time associated with supply risks – are used extensively in electronics. The concentrations of most CRMs in ores is limited and the environmental footprint of their use is quite high. Today, the biggest bottleneck for efficient recycling of small household devices and telecommunication equipment is that a large share of devices is stored at homes and end-up in unknown destinations, instead of dedicated recycling schemes. As a consequence, valuable raw materials are lost.

The solution (technology)

The focus of the project will be on education and involvement of school children, both to raise the awareness of end-of-life electronics as a resource, and through them to bring the message into families and the society as whole. The aim of the project is to increase the share of waste ending up in official take-back systems instead of loosing the resource to waste disposal or incineration plants and collection outside official take-back systems.

The project will create new types of education materials co-designed with young people to reach their peers and to involve young people in planning collection campaigns for the end-of-life electronics. The idea is to engage school teachers to be involved in new learning topics, and to distribute information on the circular economy of end-of-life electronics in primary, secondary schools and also high education schools (in Finland) in novel, interesting forms (e.g. games and videos or phenomenon based learning). The main target group for the project is school children with open minds for actions and interest to protect the environment. Besides the school teachers, also university students will be trained to act as envoys in schools. The project will provide the recycling companies, associations and municipalities with new ideas from the pupils for arrangement of campaigns in schools or in society based on feedback from school children.

Partnership

  • EIT Raw Materials GmbH
  • Fondazione Bruno Kessler
  • Hub Innovazione Trentino – Fondazione (HIT)
  • Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (KU Leuven)
  • Relight S.R.L.
  • Technische Universiteit Delft (Delft University of Technology)
  • Teknologian tutkimuskeskus VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. VTT)
  • Universit√† degli Studi di Trento

For more information, please visit the project website.