The new NILU-led EU project CE-RISE aims to optimize reuse of critical raw materials, thus minimizing waste and stimulating circular business models. It also includes an ethical factor, making it easier for end consumers to make more sustainable choices.
The rising demand and limited supply of critical raw materials impair the ability to rapidly adopt technological change toward green and sustainable technologies. This directly affects the resilience of EU industries seeking to achieve Green Deal objectives for an equitable, zero emission, and digitalized Europe.
Digital passport for products
In response to these challenges, the European Commission aims to minimize the loss of secondary raw materials and optimize their reuse across value chains.
“CE-RISE aims to do exactly that”, says project coordinator and senior scientist Golnoush Abbasi at NILU. “During the project, we will develop an information system that increases traceability and transparency of resources in value chains. We want to make it easy for industries to trace raw materials all the way from production through use, to how and where they are treated as waste.”
CE-RISE will develop and pilot an integrated framework and an ensuing resource information system to identify optimal solutions for the effective reuse, recovery, and/or recycling of materials by
- defining a set of criteria to evaluate the extent to which products and embedded components can be reused, repaired, refurbished and/or recycled – so called RE criteria
- incorporating information on RE criteria and material composition of products into a Digital product passport (DPP) to enable traceability of materials in the supply chain
- integrating DPP with information on the product environmental footprint (PEF), and socio-economic and environmental (SEE) impacts of RE processes
- enabling confidential and anonymized information sharing among actors throughout value chains
- providing open access software application to disseminate information on the assessment of RE criteria, PEF and SEE impacts of products to all stakeholders including consumers and policymakers.
Promotes sustainable choices
Ultimately, CE-RISE will foster a dynamic ecosystem geared toward prolonging the use of materials in the economy. They will also stimulate circular business models that reduce waste generation while optimizing the reuse of secondary raw materials.
“In addition to facilitate more efficient recycling and reuse of the materials during production, these passports will also make it easier for consumers to compare the social impacts of different products”, Abbasi explains. “When you can check for yourself if this kind of electronic gadget has a better environmental and ethical footprint than that kind of gadget, it is easier to make a sustainable choice.”