Chalmers speakers: how to turn a tragedy into an opportunity?

Sweden: ‘How can we improve the recycling of e-waste? Are we prepared to take our responsibility?’ Those two questions will be at the heart of the discussion following a look at the documentary ‘The E-waste Tragedy’ at Chalmers University on 7 March, as part of the Circular Materials Conference.

Not even 40% of Europe’s e-waste generated in 2012 was recycled through official channels and it is unlikely this has changed much since then, so research by the Countering WEEE Illegal Trade group suggests. And yet, many pioneers in the recycling industry are working hard to turn e-waste into e-assets.

The two-day gathering at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden, thus presents various interesting projects that may positively impact the future of electronics recycling.

The much praised film ”The E-waste tragedy” will be introduced by the Director Cosima Dannoritzer, after which a panel of experts (Rasmus Bergström; ceo Stena Technoworld, Eelco Smit; director sustainability Philips; Joost de Kluijver, director Closing the Loop) will talk about pressing issues such as the need for better guidelines, harmonising definitions, legislative frameworks, penalties and what it takes to achieve more coherent multi-stakeholder cooperation.

True 'smart' phones

The metal casting research institute Swerea SWECAST is collaborating with industry partners to open up entirely new roles for cast metal components of smartphones.

‘The intention is that cast metal will transcend beyond merely serving as structural materials, but will also function as embedded digitally enabled elements that provide monitoring data for control and other service innovations,’ so explains Raul Carlsson, research engineer at Swerea SWECAST.

Multi-materials focus

Besides giving an in-depth update regarding the possibilities and impossibilities of recycling various types of e-waste (including electric car batteries), the conference programme will shine a light on anything from plastics recycling and textiles recycling to cutting-edge chemical processes.

For instance, Anja Oasmaa of the VTT – Technical Research Centre of Finland will showcase her knowledge about thermolysis in material recycling; specifically, system solutions for converting wastes into chemicals, fuels, materials and energy.

Also, Pascal Leroy, secretary general of the WEEE Forum will endeavour to answer what many people in the industry are wondering; ‘How much critical raw material is there in the European urban mine?’


A review of the Chalmers University Circular Materials Conference will be included in issue #3 of Recycling International.


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