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Efficient Recycling of E-Waste through Automated and Intelligent Resource Dataflow

Project

The rapid technological advances with increasing application of ICT have accelerated the generation of electronic waste (e-waste). In addition, the green transition objectives under the European Green Deal advocates the utilization of renewable technologies and digital infrastructures, which will continue to increase the demand for critical raw materials, especially rare-earth elements.

Inefficient waste management systems are identified as one of the most challenging barriers in the transition to a sustainable and circular economy (CE). The lack of high-quality data from various stakeholders at the national and international levels along with the heterogeneous nature of e-waste makes the challenge of regulating and supporting e-waste management systems a daunting task for the authorities. In addition, insufficient information about the quantity of e-waste, diversity of products, and resources quality have created multi-dimensional e-waste management challenges for authorities at the local, national, and international levels.

We propose REWARD, an integrated information infrastructure, that aims at systematically identifying reusable and recyclable materials in e-waste products while determining the associated social, environmental, and economic (SEE) dimensions of circularity interventions. In REWARD, the data on e-waste generation and e-waste resources, along with SEE parameters will be fed to the integrated information infrastructure to facilitate automated data sharing and identifying optimal e-waste resources recycling options among e-waste actors. In addition, REWARD provides predictive resource planning and policy recommendations for the improvement of e-waste resource recovery in the future.

The project REWARD addresses the following thematic priorities:

  • resource-efficient ways of covering consumer needs
  • increased material recycling and use of recycled materials
  • identifying barriers and solutions to circular business models and value chain

Circular Economy Resource Information System

Project

The rising demand and limited supply of critical raw materials (CRMs) impair the ability to rapidly adopt technological change toward green and sustainable technologies, which directly affect the resilience of EU industries seeking to achieve Green Deal objectives for an equitable, zeroemission, and digitalized Europe.

In response to these challenges, the European Commission aims to minimize the loss of secondary raw materials (SRM) and optimize their reuse across value chains.

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

  1. defining a set of criteria (RE criteria) to evaluate the extent to which products and embedded components can be reused, repaired, refurbished and/or recycled;
  2. incorporating information on RE criteria and material composition of products into the Digital product passport (DPP) to enable traceability of materials in the supply chain;
  3. integrating DPP with information on the environmental footprint of products (PEF), socio-economic and environmental (SEE) impacts of RE processes;
  4. enabling confidential and anonymized information sharing among actors throughout value chains;
  5. 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.

The results will be piloted on four case studies. CE-RISE will contribute to bridging the digital divide in society by supplying affordable second-hand ICT devices, and supporting access to digital education and job opportunities. Ultimately, CE-RISE will foster a dynamic ecosystem geared toward prolonging the use of materials in the economy and stimulating circular business models to reduce waste generation while optimizing the reuse of SRMs.

Read more about the project in the news article at NILU web

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3030/101092281