Three ways to get great WEEE recycling results

Posted on: 08/06/2018

Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery, an EU LIFE funded project has released it’s third case study.

Promoting re-use in Germany

RecyclingBörse (also known as ‘AKR’), based in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, collects and re-markets used products in its own second-hand shops across the region and also runs a certified WEEE recycling facility. An independent and not-for-profit organisation, with a mission to promote re-use, RecyclingBörse also has the capability to test and evaluate collected WEEE items according to technical and market criteria.

As part of the EU LIFE funded Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery project, RecyclingBörse trialled three collection methods:

  • Re-Use Olympics
  • Re-Box
  • Re-Bag

Re-Use Olympics

Six secondary schools in the area of Herford, Germany participated in this trial. Pupils were asked to bring in re-usable WEEE items on an agreed collection day that was advertised in advance. All participating schools received a 50€ voucher for the second-hand warehouses of AKR.

Three 200€ cheques were also awarded for:

  • best outcome of collected re-usable items
  • total WEEE collected, and
  • best performance per student

At the end of the trial, representatives of these schools were invited to receive an award and hear Sven Grieger, of CRM Recovery partner EARN, outline the importance of recycling critical raw materials from WEEE.

The six secondary schools that took part in the Re-use Olympics initiative collected a total of 112.9kg of re-usable devices.


The Re-Box was developed to collect re-usable items from households in a convenient manner and to minimise damage during storage and transportation. The collection was not limited to WEEE.

In total, 33% of the boxes allocated were returned to AKR. 1% of these were used for WEEE only. The others contained WEEE and items such as books, toys and games.



The Re-Bag is an established method for AKR to collect used clothes from households. In this trial, householders were also asked to include re-usable WEEE items. 100,000 bags were distributed.

Over the course of 2.5 months approximately 4,000 bags were returned, of which around 200 contained small WEEE. Re-usable WEEE appliances accounted for 6.5%.

Read the full case study here.

Critical Raw Material Recovery Closed Loop Project (CRM Recovery)

The EU LIFE funded Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery project, of which KTN is a partner, is investing in trials exploring novel ways of boosting the recovery of critical raw materials (CRMs) from household waste electrical and electronic products (WEEE).  The project aims to increase the recovery of target CRMs by 5% by 2020 and by 20% by 2030.

The collection and recovery trials were the first stage in the €2.1m, three-and-a-half-year project, which is supported by the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union, Innovate UK, the Welsh Government and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and led by WRAP. The outputs from the trials will inform policy recommendation throughout the EU.

If you would like to hear more from the Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery project, you can sign up to the project newsletter here, or follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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