New Collaboration between OPEN Foundation and TNO Vector Focuses on Critical Data and Technology for Circular Economy

The transition to a circular economy is becoming more urgent every day. The government aims to increase resource reuse while effectively recovering critical materials from electronic devices remains a challenge. This prompted the collaboration between the Organization for Producer Responsibility E-waste Netherlands (OPEN Foundation) and TNO Vector to enhance knowledge and insights into e-waste. Together, we gather data to support governments in strategic policy development and expedite electronic waste recycling.

Improved Insights into E-waste Composition

An important step in this process is gaining a better understanding of the precise composition of e-waste, which includes discarded products with batteries or plugs. Information about critical raw materials (CRMs) contained within it remains limited.

Steven van Eijck, Chairman of the OPEN Foundation, explains: "The better we utilize our above-ground resources, the less we need to tap into those beneath the surface. But to do that, we need to know what materials are present in e-waste."

Currently, uncertainty surrounds CRMs and the best methods for their recovery. The collaboration with TNO will shed light on this issue.

Broader Scope

Beyond assessing the potential for enhanced recycling, TNO Vector and the OPEN Foundation will also actively work on reducing environmental impact. This involves strategies to conserve resources, such as moving towards greater 're-use' and 'refurbishing'.

This effort is guided by three program lines. The first involves a circular electronics testing and innovation center, which focuses on experimenting and researching processes and technology that promote high-quality reuse of devices or device components.

The second line is centered on generating and utilizing data directly from OPEN Foundation's processing lines to enhance operations and policies for a more circular economy.

The third program line addresses current and future policies. Insights from this collaboration will inform the government about the effects of current policies and provide advice on effective policies. The partnership aims to draw lessons for policy decision-making in the Netherlands and Europe concerning the circular economy and e-waste.

We eagerly anticipate our collaboration with the OPEN Foundation, aiming to shape a sustainable future. The fusion of TNO's extensive experience and expertise in technical innovation and sound governance, coupled with OPEN Foundation's e-waste knowledge and network, will significantly contribute to informing policymakers in shaping future e-waste policies. - Wimar Bolhuis, Director of TNO Vector.