Re-Tek's Research

At Re-Tek we are continuously working to develop commercially viable methods to extract and recover valuable resources from each item collected.  This involves undertaking research with a number of academic, industry and policy-making partners.

EU LIFE Project– Critical Raw Material Recovery

We recently successfully completed a 2-year EU Life funded research project managed by WRAP, partnering with the University of the West of Scotland and Enscape Consulting Ltd.  This involved trialling innovative chemical, biological and electro-chemical methods for recovering the target metals using a combination of physical, biological and chemical laboratory-based separation techniques. Unexpectedly, two rare earth elements were also “accidentally” recovered, and the team are now actively searching for additional funding to continue this crucial work on critical raw materials and precious metals to ensure that they are kept in use for as long as possible.

Innovative Logistics & Collection Models

We carried out feasibility studies followed by pilot projects to assess the potential of different innovative collection and logistics models for consumer ICT.  Through Innovate UK, then EU Life (a project managed by WRAP), we identified first the preferred models for collecting such ICT and then confirmed and understood the reality.  Trials were carried out with partners such as Zero Waste Scotland, local authorities (e.g. Fife, East Ayrshire) and charities (CFINE, Instant Neighbour), as well as a number of schools (e.g. Strathdon and Albyn in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire). A number of private sector companies also took part.  Consumer ICT was data-wiped and processed for reuse and an overall reuse rate of 19% was achieved.  The remaining units were then considered for CRM recovery.

Understanding the Value of ICT

Re-Tek carried out research to provide estimates of the value of a range of consumer electronics products following their first sale, alongside the estimated cost of recovering those products and preparing them for re-sale. This work informed members of WRAP’s Electrical Products Pathfinder Group in exploring the potential for incentivised return and re-sale schemes for consumer electronics.

Environmental Policy – WEEE

The European Commission Joint Research Centre undertakes work to influence and change policy on WEEE in the EU. The Centre engaged with Re-Tek as part of its work into understanding how product policy should be influenced by environmental footprint and material efficiency considerations.  We were pleased to host the team working on this project and to provide data to support outputs and understanding.  This led to a research report that described the potential in terms of reuse opportunities related to servers.

By choosing Re-Tek as your asset management partner, you are supporting our vital research into reuse and recovery techniques. We are always looking for new and innovative research processes to trial.  If you have an idea, please get in touch.