Investing in Recycling & the Waste Management sector

Taking the right step towards investing in e-waste offers many opportunities.


Investing with care and confidence

How can we help ?

Whether you are a potential investor or a company who is seeking investment and assistance with your new or existing business plan, W E & E Consulting are here to assist. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Researching the market and understanding the complex WEEE System are 2 critical elements of any investment decision taken. Risks will need to be evaluated & any business plan will therefore need close scrutiny. Due Diligence and thorough examination of all assumptions will require specialist WEEE expertise, advice and guidance.

Prioritising value return

Recovery & recycling priorities centre around high value ferrous & non ferrous metals with mixed plastics recycling & recovery (est 20% of a typical WEEE mix) achieving considerably less value and predominantly exported outside of the UK. The mixed plastics stream separated by low tech operators often contains other materials of higher value (e.g. Copper) & subsequent lack of further investment in high tech separation technology results in lost opportunities. Many other high value metals are lost during WEEE treatment and further refining offers benefits.

Along with new priorities in the UK’s waste review, many countries across the world are waking up to e-waste and the need to act, more legislative drivers are being introduced and this is a waste stream that will not go away. Investing in e-waste businesses can however be a complicated process and decisions taken require care and confidence as well as support and relevant expertise.

E - Waste (WEEE) a rapid growth area

E-waste (WEEE) is a rapid growth area with an estimated 20 to 50 million tonnes (UNEP 2005) generated worldwide every year. The original estimates from the European Commission predicted a rise of 5% in Europe per year  and there have since been other predictions that place the household WEEE figure rising at 2.5 to 2.7% per year. The non-household WEEE element is estimated to be largely equivalent to Household WEEE and represents the greatest challenge.

In the UK, the original estimates of E-waste to be generated were around 2 million tonnes per year although the current achievement is much lower. This is largely caused by leakage in the WEEE system and in particular, much lower levels of business to business (B2B) WEEE being reported as recycled & recovered.

Material values continue to fluctuate but the value of copper has continued to increase and some say that it is now regarded as the new gold. Recovery of gold in e-waste is yet to be exploited to the full and in Germany it is estimated that only 40% of the gold in PC’s is recovered with 75% of the gold lost in preprocessing of e- waste in a large German facility (Chancerel et al.2008). Other metals are in demand and the quality of the material plays an important part in this process.

The EU has also identified 14 critical raw materials (speciality metals) known to exist within e-waste. These need to be recovered in greater quantities in the future and there is potential to address this need and recover value in the process.

Maximising value