Library

The library contains a wealth of information on the circular economy for use by policy makers and analysts conducting impact assessments. For more information on impact assessments and the EU's Better Regulation Agenda, please click here.

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    Tracking the Flow of Resources in Electronic Waste - The Case of End-of-Life Computer Hard Disk Drives

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Komal Habib, Keshav Parajuly, and Henrik Wenzel

    Source: 

    Environ. Sci. Technol.

    Year: 

    2015

    Recovery of resources, in particular, metals, from waste flows is widely seen as a prioritized option to reduce their potential supply constraints in the future. The current waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) treatment system is more focused on bulk metals, where the recycling rate of specialty metals, such as rare earths, is negligible compared to their increasing use in modern products, such as electronics. This study investigates the challenges in recovering these resources in the existing WEEE treatment system. It is illustrated by following the material flows of...

    Recycling of metals from urban mines- a strategic evaluation

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Zhi Sun, Yanping Xiao, Hanneke Agterhuis, Jilt Sietsma, Yongxiang Yang

    Source: 

    Journal of Cleaner Production

    Year: 

    2015

    Urban mining has attracted increasing attention as a research topic, owing to the high growth rate, environmental issues, and market potential of waste generated in urban areas. Metal recovery from such waste has become increasingly important especially in accordance with the concept of metal criticality. This study develops a model by evaluating various types of urban waste in order to understand the criticality of these waste streams and determine their potential for metal recovery. Two factors, i.e. the resource index and technology index, are defined and assessed through a systematic...

    Recycling of WEEE's: An economic assessment of present and future e-waste streams

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Federica Cucchiella, Idiano D'Adamo, S.C.Lenny Koh, Paolo Rosa...

    Source: 

    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

    Year: 

    2015

    Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipments (WEEEs) is currently considered to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, with an estimated growth rate going from 3% up to 5% per year. The recycling of Electric or electronic waste (E-waste) products could allow the diminishing use of virgin resources in manufacturing and, consequently, it could contribute in reducing the environmental pollution. Given that EU is trying, since the last two decades, to develop a circular economy based on the exploitation of resources recovered by wastes, a comprehensive framework supporting...

    Recycling of rare earths: a critical review

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Koen Binnemans, Peter Tom Jones, Bart Blanpain, Tom Van Gerven, Yongxiang Yang, Allan Walton, Matt-hias Buchert

    Source: 

    Journal of Cleaner Production

    Year: 

    2013

    The rare-earth elements (REEs) are becoming increasingly important in the transition to a green economy, due to their essential role in permanent magnets, lamp phosphors, catalysts, rechargeable batteries etc. With China presently producing more than 90% of the global REE output and its increasingly tight export quota, the rest of the world is confronted with a REE supply risk. Mining companies are now actively seeking new exploitable REE deposits while some old mines are being reopened. Because of the absence of economical and/or operational primary deposits on their territory, many...

    A Strategy for Material Supply Chain Sustainability: Enabling a Circular Economy in the Electronics Industry through Green Engineering

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Megan P. O'Connor, Julie B. Zimmerman, Paul T. Anastas, and Desiree L. Plata...

    Source: 

    ACS Sustainable Che. Eng.

    Year: 

    2016

    Rapid innovation in the field of electronic technologies through the use of rare earth and specialty elements (RESE) has made the electronics industry one of the most rapidly evolving industries to date. However, innovations to har-vest these same materials from complex waste streams have not kept pace, thus leading to an unsustainable material supply chain reliant on the mining of increasingly difficult-to-extract ores. Here, we aim to provide a strategy to mitigate these challenges, identifying the technical research and development needed to further sustainable electronics through Green...

    Final Report: Processes for Recovery and Recycling of Chromium From Spent Chromium Oxide Fluorination Catalysts

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Darrell Coons

    Source: 

    US EPA

    Year: 

    2000

    The purpose of this Phase I project was to develop a process for recovery of chromium from spent chromium(III) oxide fluorination catalysts and similar waste or byproduct streams. The spent catalysts contain 40-64% chromium, primarily in the forms of chromium(III) oxide, Cr2O3, and chromium(III) fluoride, CrF3. They are hazardous solid wastes, for which no known processes for chromium recovery had previously existed. Little has been reported on the chemistry of chromium(III) fluoride. Work in our laboratories has shown that the spent catalysts are extremely inert to chemical attack by...

    REE4EU

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2015

    The project, funded in the frame of Horizon 2020 TOPIC SPIRE-07-2015, will realize a breakthrough innovation in the field of Recovery Technologies for Metals and other Minerals. It will make available Rare Earth elements and Rare Earth alloys for magnet production by developing, for the first time at industrial scale, an efficient and cost effective method of extraction and a direct production route for Rare Earth Alloys which will be achieved through in-process and End-of-Life permanent magnets as well as Ni metal hydride battery waste.

    Remaghic

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    H2020

    Year: 

    2015

    REMAGHIC is focused on contributing to Europe's rare earth recovery and magnesium recycling technologies, improving the efficiencies of these processes and advancing the technology readiness levels for a new generation of industrial processes that will produce new low cost competitive alloys for a wide variety of sectors across Europe's manufacturing value chain. The project motivation lies on the fact that magnesium alloys can offer a significant weight reduction when compared to aluminium alloys. Weight reduction is a cross sectorial key design driver, if a superior energy absorption and...

    Priorities for critical materials for a circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    EASAC

    Year: 

    2016

    "This report reviews briefly the historical criteria for critical raw materials currently under review by the Commission and the Joint Research Centre (JRC), and notes that many critical materials still have very low recycling rates which increases the demand for virgin materials and therefore reduces lifetime of supply. EASAC is in broad agreement with the criteria that the Commission proposes to apply in selecting critical materials for the new list in 2017 but notes that environmental impacts of extraction of raw materials are substantial and should be considered in the criticality...

    Study on modelling of the economic and environmental impacts of raw material consumption

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Cambridge Econometrics, Bio Intelligence Sevices

    Year: 

    2014

    "This report provides a quantative analysis of different resource productivity (RP) targets for the EU. Resource productivity in this study is defined as GDP per unit of raw material consumption (RMC), instead of the usual GDP per unit of domestic material consumption (DMC). The RMC-based indicator adjusts the weight of materials recorded at border crossings so that they are counted as if they were produced domestically." (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/enveco/resource_efficiency/pdf/RMC.pdf)

    Review of critical material studies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Yanya Jin, Junbeum Kim, Bertrand Guillaume

    Year: 

    2016

    "The cobalt crisis at the end of 20th century and the recent rare earth elements debate in World Trade Organisation (WTO) both showed the importance of certain materials to numerous industries and even to the economy, defence and politics of individual countries. This fact prompted some authorities to launch organisations which focus on these critical materials and conduct studies on them. A good understanding of current or potential future situations of criticality of materials can help stakeholders to make better decisions to mitigate the criticality issues or take measures in advance....

    Mobile Flip

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2015

    MOBILE FLIP aims at developing and demonstrating mobile processes for the treatment of underexploited agro- and forest based biomass resources into products and intermediates. The processes will be evaluated in terms of raw material flexibility, as the biomass resources are typically scattered and seasonal. Process concepts have been designed around the key technologies pelletizing, torrefaction, slow pyrolysis, hydrothermal pretreatment and carbonisation. The products vary depending on the process concept, being typically fuels as such or for co-combustion (pellets, torrefied pellets,...

    SteamBio

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    SteamBio is an industry-research partnership supported by the EC Horizon 2020 Programme and SPIRE public private partnership, launched on 1st February 2015. SteamBio will demonstrate in fields and forests an innovative mobile superheated steam process. This process will convert agro-forestry residues into stable feedstock for biochemical and bioenergy uses. SteamBio involves the development of decentralised business models to enable widespread flexible deployment in rural areas across Europe. The successful project will create local jobs and generate local wealth. It will also contribute...

    ADREM

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2017

    Wants to create a ‘[...] highly innovative, economically attractive and resource- and energy-efficient valorisation process of variable methane feedstocks to higher hydrocarbons and liquid fuels’.

    Urban biowaste, a sustainable source of bioenergy?

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Mariel Vilella

    Source: 

    Zero Waste Europe

    Year: 

    2016

    "Although most bioenergy is produced by burning agricultural and forestry biomass, it is also generated by burning the organic parts of municipal solid waste, biowaste or urban biomass. This includes food waste from restaurants, households, farmers markets, gardens, textiles, clothing, paper and other materials of organic origin. But have you ever tried to fuel a bonfire with a salad? Probably not, so this may not be the most efficient use of urban biowaste." (https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/...

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