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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

WEEE 2020 Raw Material Partnership – Delivering advancements across the WEEE value chain to improve the environment, help meet EU material demand and drive a resource eff

Objectives of the commitment

This Partnership of industry leaders will drive forward a visionary strategic roadmap to radically transform the value chain for critical and valuable raw material recycling to: (i) improve recycling infrastructure, (ii) utilise best available techniques for environmentally sound and economically viable recovery, (iii) develop innovative product centric recovery based on the composition and arisings of WEEE, (iv) create a state of the art inventory to increase the knowledge base on secondary raw materials in end-of-life vehicles, WEEE and batteries, (v) create information exchange networks to improve the EU knowledge base for the benefit of all stakeholders, (vi) develop and implement new standards to achieve the highest environmental performance and safeguard against illegal activity, (vii) develop advanced ICT solutions to track and trace waste products, and (viii) change consumer behaviour through societal innovation.

Description of the activities

The programme will be delivered through 5 projects:

(i) Mapping the Urban Mine. The requirements of Industry and policy makers, including compatibility with Minerals4EU, for data capture and presentation will be identified. Building on available data sources and gathering new data (including sampling and analysis) the material composition of WEEE, end-of-life vehicles and batteries will be determined. This data will be linked to information on stocks and flows to produce an interoperable database including inventories of product and available materials. Baseline data will be produced identifying how much material could be recovered from these sources. Data will be presented in maps showing at a Member State level what arises, is in stock and will become available over time.

(ii) WEEE CoRe
Identification of key enabling factors to increase the amount of WEEE reported as collected and recycled taking into account market conditions, existing flows of WEEE, consumer and business behaviour, existing infrastructure and adoption of legislation and producer responsibility. Research of existing practice and behaviour to design, develop and trial innovative communication and collection approaches considering economic, social and environmental impacts. Production of a range of high impact collection systems and consumer campaigns, based on a demographic typology. Development of a Roadmap with stakeholders, e.g. producers, municipal waste authorities and producer responsibility organisations, identifying how the findings will be implemented to increase the separate collection of WEEE.

(iii) WEEE Tracker
Working with producers, processors, recyclers and a standardisation body, identification of the information requirements necessary to allow for the identification of critical and valuable raw materials in products and ways to optimise their recovery. Assessment of the technical and commercial options to provide access to this information including incorporation of ‘tags’ in products and standards for the storage and updating of product data. Validation and replication of the technology more widely by implementation of a pilot across a number of products and waste flows. Review of options for the implementation, replication and adoption of ICT in other products and waste flows across the EU.

(iii) WEEE Innovate
Development of innovative business models and a roadmap for the WEEE recycling industry using product-centric, system-based approaches to support green, high value transition of the WEEE recycling industry and associated industries. Process, mass flow, economic, environmental, market, business and complex system models will be used and developed to create a circular economy roadmap for WEEE. Based on end user demand, identification of the need for advances in technological processes; the development of pilots for supply chain collaboration and industry transition; and standards and best practice to optimise the entire value chain to increase critical and valuable raw material recovery.

(iv) WEEE+BATT Excellence
Definition of the conditions and requirements necessary to develop a certification scheme for recycling (pre- and end-processing) WEEE and spent batteries based on setting quality standards using environmental, health and efficiency criteria. Development of draft standards together with qualification criteria, guidance and training for auditors. Trial, evaluation and validation of the standards and auditing requirements including environmental, social and economic impacts. The development of recommendations for adoption including the case for mandatory certification.

Description of the expected impacts

The WEEE 2020 Partnership will tap the full potential of secondary raw materials arising from WEEE by working holistically on the value chain with impacts of: (i) 1.500.000 tonnes of materials recycled with a focus on critical and valuable raw materials linked to EU end users, (ii) 26.000.000 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided and (iii) €450.000.000 added to the EU economy, (iv) improved knowledge on the availability and recoverability of secondary raw materials including dynamic modelling on trends in supply and demand with exploitable reserves in WEEE, end-of-life vehicles and batteries, (v) the strategic and targeted effort of all actors in the value chain to improve performance and achieve optimal collection, recycling and recovery rates, (vi) new cost effective and environmentally sound exemplars for collection, recycling and recovery, (vii) improvements and the achievement of excellence in Europe’s WEEE management including the development of a new certification scheme and new standards for recovery, (viii) reduced import dependency and reductions in illegal export through certification of recycling and the use of RFiD tracking in products and waste, (ix) improved supply to EU industry and reductions in exposure to price volatility, (x) growth in the necessary reprocessing capacity and technologies to recover a wider range of critical raw materials leading to inward investment and job creation, (xi) improved resource efficiency through increases in recycling rates and increases in the amount of WEEE properly treated to the highest standards throughout Europe, (xii) active consumer engagement in the value chain leading to societal innovation, (xiii) identification of the framework conditions for enhanced material recycling and supply to EU industry including recommendations for new policies, targets and research.

Coordinating organisation & role

Name of the coordinating organisation: WEEE Forum a.i.s.b.l.Country: BelgiumEntity profile: OtherRole within the commitment:

The WEEE Forum is responsible for project management and governance of the WEEE 2020 Partnership including co-ordinating funding applications. The WEEE Forum's 40 producer responsibility organisations will also deliver a number of the project activities with the WEEE Forum leading on communications and dissemination. Our network along the value chain and across Europe will be maximised to ensure effective implementation of the WEEE 2020 outcomes.

Other partners

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V.

Name of the organisation: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V. Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Fraunhofer will lead the CFRP and GFRP recycling research.
Fraunhofer will perform corrosion tests on the developed materials.
Fraunhofer will work with CIDAUT on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project. Fraunhofer is the Quality Manager of the Consortium and will oversee deliverables and general reporting are produced with the best possible quality following agreed review standards.

Fundacion Cidaut

Name of the organisation: Fundacion Cidaut Country: Spain Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: CIDAUT will lead the research activities on materials recycling and compounding, implementing lab scale demonstrators of each process at its premises and, later, supporting end-users upscale the processes.
CIDAUT will perform mechanical tests, microstructural analyses, injection moulding capability studies on the developed materails, and will work with Fraunhofer on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project.

RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV)

Name of the organisation: RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV) Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: RWTH will implement the novel 3D Generative Preforming process (3D Fibre Spraying) that enables to create high-value long fibre-reinforced 3D preforms for thermoplastic and thermoset composites at low process costs (different kinds of yarn as a raw material, low tooling costs due to low cavity pressures). This cost effective technology allows to align the sprayed fibres in order to produce high-performance, engineered anisotropic products.

Universita' di Cagliari

Name of the organisation: Universita' di Cagliari Country: Italy Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: University of Cagliari is one of the leading European organization in the resin design and coupling with thermoplastic and thermose materials. University of Cagliari will support in the definition of the composite materials, both from CFRP/GFRP, ABS and Rare Earth composite material.


Name of the organisation: Relight Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: RELIGHT will work with ITRB to provide the research partners with residues for the recycled ABS supply and the REE recovery processes, including their HydroWEEE process as part of the processes to be studied and analyzed.

Piaggio Aerospace

Name of the organisation: Piaggio Aerospace Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: Piaggio Aerospace is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Piaggio will assist in the compounds selection, provide Fraunhofer with specific corrosion requirements on business jet size aircraft, and will assess that the developed materials performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

Blackshape Aircrafts

Name of the organisation: Blackshape Aircrafts Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: Blackshape Aircrafts is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Blackshape will support to fulfill the requirements of the aeronautics industry on ultra light jet, light jet and trainer for Syllabus, and will assess that the developed alloys performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

KU Leuven

Name of the organisation: KU Leuven Country: Belgium Entity profile: Academia
Role within the commitment: KUL will collaborate on the balance problem studies and will lead the rare earth recovery research with the solvometallurgical and ionometallurgical processes.
KUL will also contribute to the final compounding selection.
KUL is the Dissemination Manager of the project, promoting that all partners are active on the project Dissemination.


Name of the organisation: FIDAMC Country: Spain Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: FIDAMC is going to lead the Work Package on Compression Moulding with CFRP-enhanced materials. As part of the AIRBUS Group, FIDAMC will also be able to provide the input material.
FIDAMC successfully developed a 3D Printer of own design to serve the Aerospace Industry and will be supporting Smart Lab 3D Industries in its 3D printer design.


Name of the organisation: COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER Country: Canada Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Composite Innovation Center is one of the world leading organization in the field of Composite materials, both from carbon fiber and vegetal-based fibers.
Composite Innovation center has successfully implemented, at lab-scale, recycling processes for CFRP and GFRP.

Existing EU Contribution: Yes

Period to implement the commitment: from 01-01-2015 to 31-12-2020