European network for innovative recovery strategies of rare earth and other Critical metals from electrical and electronic waste

Working Group 3 


The activities within WG 3 aim to describe in detail the currently applied WEEE pre-treatment methods with a clear focus on the fate of CM during processing. Today, a variety of manual, mechanical and thermal pre-treatment techniques are applied in combination with sensor-based sorting systems. Although manual dismantling of WEEE is labour intensive, it still plays a relevant role in the recycling process due to its high efficiency.


The general aim of pre-treatment is to separate high value components of relevant WEEE collection groups and to generate material streams, which are ready to be further processed by means of an advanced treatment technology. This requires the application of specifically adapted pre-treatment for each CM-relevant WEEE collection group.


The aims of WG 3 will be accomplished through elaboration of the current state of research and guidelines as e.g. national standards or BREF-documents. Moreover, intense communication with stakeholders, such as recyclers and technology owners, will supplement the literature review. The characteristics of mechanical and manual pre-treatment processes as well as the responding compositions of output fractions are pointed out and summarized. The current accumulation of CM in certain fractions after pre-treatment is derived from this data which will be also added to the new WEEE database.









  • Elaboration of an overview on current national practices for WEEE pre-treatment (manual, mechanical or thermal pre-treatment).
  • Describing the state-of-the-art pre-treatment methods for WEEE.
  • Investigations on the fate of CM in pre-treatment processes.
  • Evaluation of process efficiency regarding CM recovery during pre-treatment.



WG3 leader Dr. Bojan Batinic


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