In Europe, the amount of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is 13 million tons per year (13% of municipal waste) and it will increase in future decades with an expected rate of at least 3% to 5% per year, about three times higher than the growth of the average municipal waste. The end of life equipment contains hazardous materials, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, engineering plastics, precious metals (PMs), platinum group metals (PGMs) and rare earths metals (REEs). Considering that EU industry is becoming more and more dependent on PMs, PGMs and REE metals which are essential in the manufacture of electrical and electronic and other advanced technological products, WEEE needs to increase the Reuse, Recycling and Recovery (3R) strategies.
The project is focused in one of the fastest growing e-waste as are Flat Panel Displays. RECYVAL-NANO project will develop recycling processes of FPD wastes, involving mechanical separation and solvent metal extraction in order to recover metals already in short supply such as indium, yttrium and neodymium for direct reuse in the production of high added value nanoparticles, which will be reused on improved applications regarding the initial products and also for development of new applications. In this sense, the global approach of RECYVAL-NANO project will include an extensive list of benefits. Some of the most important ones are: i) To promote and implement solutions in the collection and handling of FPD wastes, ii) Recycling critical metals such as indium, yttrium and neodymium which are very demanded for current and new applications, iii) Recovery of other major fractions present in FPD wastes, iv) To make cheaper and feasible the production of high-tech ITO, Y2O3:Eu+3 and Nd-Fe-B nanoparticles starting from recycled materials, v) To promote the use and application of nanoparticles in final products improving their performance and possibilities, vi) To develop recovery, recycling and revalorisation routes which will ensure economical advantage and reduction of environmental impacts.