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Mitigating issues of future wastes: enhancing resource productivity in emerging technologies

5 September 2018 10:00-19:00, London, United Kingdom


Background to event:

Humanity faces the threat of irreversible and significant climate change and imminent global resource security crises for many materials, particularly ‘critical’ raw materials (CRMs) which are vital components of the very ‘green’ technologies upon which climate change mitigation strategies heavily rely. Enhanced global resource efficiency is necessary along with widespread deployment of green technologies, which creates greater demand for CRM primary resources. Adoption of circular economy provides a means to mitigate these issues whilst enhancing the retention and productivity of material resources within economies and mitigating issues resulting from wastes arising from the lifecycles of these technologies, which at their end-of-life will become waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

WEEE is the fastest growing waste stream on the planet with annual global generation having reached ~50 million tonnes accounting for 5% of all municipal solid waste. The enormous quantities of WEEE generated around the world represent a growing risk to human health and the environment due to the great variety of toxic substances found in WEEE. The high content of CRMs in WEEE which are not efficiently recovered represents a global resource security crisis. Despite this, WEEE represents a considerable opportunity as a secondary resource rich in CRMs, and developing this resource will be essential to meet materials demands from emerging technologies in coming years.

The necessity to adopt practices which enhance resource productivity in emerging technologies and our energy sector, as well as the promotion of well-functioning markets for secondary raw materials is reflected in the UK Industrial Strategy which sets these objectives as national priorities in the interest of achieving clean growth and sustainable economic development. This will require considerable progress for emerging technologies in the areas of: product design for disassembly/refurbishment/remanufacturing and recycling; materials substitution; manufacturing from recovered components/materials; fabrication efficiency; technology for efficient materials recovery from WEEE including CRMs; technologies for separation and generation of high purity raw materials from end-of-life products for manufacturing; and new materials sets which are compatible with end-of-life processes.

Purpose of the event

Progress in resource efficiency in throughout emerging technologies lifecycles will require multi-disciplinary collaborative R&I between academia and industries involved in all stages of product lifecycles; and support from additional key stakeholders including government, professional bodies, NGOs and consultancies. ‘Mitigating issues of future wastes: enhancing resource productivity in emerging technologies’ will bring together these partners to explore challenges in lifecycle optimisation of emerging products which generate, store and use electricity. The event will provide an opportunity for industry and other crucial stakeholders to engage with the world class UK research base in order to:
  • Identify opportunities to… ‘reduce raw material demand and waste in our energy systems and lifecycles of emerging technologies, and create well-functioning markets for secondary materials’.
  • Identify current or best practice in lifecycles of products.
  • Examine key challenges for lifecycle optimisation of emerging energy generating, storage and using products which chemistry can help to address.
  • Establish new links between academia & industry which enable collaborative demand driven R&I to tackle these lifecycle challenges.
  • Provide an overview of funding and other support mechanisms for collaborative R&I in these areas. 

Structure of the event

To guide discussions and inspire fruitful engagement between participants a program of invited talks will feature which set the scene and highlight the necessity and benefits of innovation to enhance resource efficiency in the lifecycles of emerging technologies. Talks from industry which outline challenges in progression towards enhanced resource efficiency in the lifecycles of emerging technologies will precede parallel breakout sessions which aim to bring crucial players in each sector together to discuss solutions and develop new collaborations.

The event will feature the presentation of the 2017 Sustainable energy Award to Professor Javier Pérez-Ramírez, ETH Zurich, who will deliver his invited talk 'Catalysis Engineering for Sustainable Technologies’.

Poster sessions and networking opportunities will feature during breaks, lunch and an evening drinks reception which will also provide further opportunities for discussion between attendees. There will also be opportunities for attendees to post biographies of themselves indicating the type of support they may be able to lend to collaborative R&I in this area, and support sought from collaborators. Please submit all biographies and poster abstracts to by the deadlines indicated.


The agenda is available via this url (please copy and paste into your browser):


Delegates - £50
RSC Members - £40
Students - £25


The Royal Society of Chemistry

Royal Society of Chemistry, The Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA, United Kingdom

Organised by
This event is organised by the 'Future Wastes' event committe of the RSC ESED Council:
  • Dr Rhys Charles
  • Dr Matthew Lloyd Davies
  • Dr Chris Ennis
  • Dr Carole Llewellyn

Contact information
Dr Rhys Charles
Swansea University, Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A), College of Engineering
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