Expected impacts – The effect CloseWEEE will have, economically, environmentally and socially:
- In the medium to longer term CloseWEEE will enable unlocking of a significant volume of various raw materials through conversion of wastes or raw materials not currently exploited into valuable resources. In the shorter term, a measurable increase in the efficiency of exploitation of secondary raw materials’ deposits (‘urban mines’) will be achieved against the state of the art.
- Increased range and yields of recovered materials and energy efficiency, reduced environmental footprint measured by qualitative and quantitative indicators.
- Contribution to achieving the objectives of the EIP on Raw Materials.
- More sustainable consumption and production patterns, Improved communication and transfer of knowledge to policy making, business and to the general public: Economic sustainability means to use resources in an efficient and responsible way to assure a long term business profit. In the case of CloseWEEE project, generated WEEE plastic waste will become new raw material for cradle to cradle applications, which means a rational use of resources. The CloseWEEE approach covers the full value chain from secondary raw material acquisition from WEEE to manufacture of new products. Whereas plastics’ recycling from other sectors is largely established, although on a low level, there is close to zero material recovery from WEEE.
Social Impact –
- If it were feasible to recover plastics from the halogen containing fractions, the economic balance might change so that it would be more profitable to recycle these streams in EU. This would benefit the EU by 1) better control of plastic raw materials, 2) ability to add value to the plastics in the EU rather than letting value added activities occur in the developing countries, 3) green jobs and 4) prevention of less desirable EH&S outcomes due to improper handling in developing countries