Dutch-Italian collaboration pioneering e-waste recycling

5 February 2024

In a display of international cooperation, a joint effort between Closing the Loop and Italian recycling firm Refimet has emerged as a case study in the space of e-waste management. This partnership has caught the attention for its approach to recycling used mobile phones and laptops from African countries, such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon.

At the heart of this collaboration lies a commitment to creating a circular economy, where the purchase of electronics translates into a waste-neutral transaction. Closing the Loop orchestrates the collection of used devices in African nations, offering fair compensation to local communities. The collected e-waste is then dispatched to Refimet's specialized recycling facility in Italy, where the waste is recycled, and precious metals are extracted.

The visit of Attilio Fontana, President of the Regione Lombardia, and Mascha Baak, Consul General of the Netherlands in Milan, to Refimet's production facility in Spino d'Adda on January 25 highlighted the significance of this long lasting partnership.

Their presence symbolized a shared commitment to advancing the principles of circular economy and urban mining.

Urban mining, the process of extracting and reusing materials from urban waste, holds immense promise in addressing the global challenge of e-waste. With electronic waste generation projected to reach 74 million tons by 2030, initiatives like the Dutch-Italian partnership offer a glimpse into a more sustainable future.

By championing urban extraction, Closing the Loop and Refimet demonstrates how secondary raw materials can be reintegrated into the production cycle, mitigating the need for traditional extraction methods that often pose environmental risks.

This approach not only aligns with key objectives outlined in European regulations on critical raw materials but also sets a precedent for sustainable industrial practices worldwide.