Skip to main content

Voluntary certification scheme for waste treatment

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CEWASTE (Voluntary certification scheme for waste treatment)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2019-10-31

The overall objective of the H2020 project Voluntary Certification Scheme for Waste Treatment (CEWASTE) is to improve the recycling of valuable and critical raw materials (CRMs) from key types of waste through traceable and sustainable treatment processes in the entire supply chain of secondary materials. To achieve this goal, the project will develop and validate a voluntary certification scheme for collection, transport and treatment facilities of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and waste batteries containing significant amounts of these materials. As such, CEWASTE addresses the specific challenge to secure the sustainable access to CRMs which are crucial for maintaining the competitiveness of the EU economy and achieving objectives set by the EU action plan for implementing Circular Economy. The project will also support the development of environmentally and socially sound recycling systems globally.
As a first step, a comprehensive baseline and gap analysis has been performed with the aim to understand existing recovery practices, standards and verification schemes related to valuable and critical raw materials and to identify how these can be leveraged for CEWASTE. Based on a set of pre-defined criteria, the consortium identified 14 types/categories of Key CRM Equipment (KCE), i.e. WEEE and batteries from EEE and end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) with sufficiently high concentrations and feasible processing technologies enabling the recycling of CRMs (Fig.1).
More than 60 normative requirements such as legislation, standards and their certification schemes applicable to the identified Key CRM Equipment were mapped and assessed for stipulations that could be referenced and used for the CEWASTE certification scheme. The result of the mapping exercise revealed that while non-technical requirements applicable to the collection and treatment of Key CRM Equipment are addressed in the existing standards, there are hardly any technical requirements in place for the recycling of valuable and CRMs. One of the main conclusions of this work package was that EN 50625 standard series approved by CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) on 2014-01-27, is the most comprehensive standard that can be used as reference for the CEWASTE project.
By taking stock of the EN 50625 standard series and other relevant guidelines and legislation, the project has expanded the current normative requirements through proposed new requirements that have a focus on recovery of valuable and critical raw materials. This includes a set of normative managerial, environmental, social, traceability and technical requirements for collection, transport, pre-treatment and final treatment facilities of Key CRM Equipment.
To ensure that the facilities in the value chain comply with the identified normative requirements, the project has established an assurance system and related verification mechanisms. With reference to existing certification schemes, auditing standards and good practice guides a framework for the assurance system has been developed. This includes determining what processes the assurance scheme shall address (auditing, audit assessment and the general scheme rules) and how these processes are to be performed and supported through various templates (e.g audit plan templates) and guidance. Among others, a check-list document is developed which provides support for auditors to assess the compliance of an operators’ facility with the CEWASTE requirement.
To engage with the key experts in the value chain and ensure a transparent consultation process, the project has established a strong Advisory Board and has developed a network of key actors and beneficiaries (up to now 130 registered members). A consultation meeting was held on 22 October 2019 in Geneva during which the Advisory Board and the stakeholders were given the opportunity to contribute to the design and content of the CEWASTE certification scheme. The next step in stakeholder consultation process is to perform a systematic online consultation process (see next steps).
In the first year of the project, several communication materials were developed to promote and create awareness about the project. Among others a flow diagram was designed to be used as the project’s identity (Fig.2).
The main components of the CEWASTE certification scheme will be validated in the second year of the project through public consultation process as well as pilot audits. Therefore, the relevant documents (i.e. normative requirements and the related assurance and verification system) developed in the first year, will be considered as living documents and will be updated in the second year. Summary of progress beyond the state of the art are as follows:
- Public consultation: in December 2019 and for a period of 2 months, the draft version of the CEWASTE normative requirements will be published online for public consultation. The comments and feedback received will be used to revise and improve the first draft version of the document. A second round of online consultation will be performed in June/July 2020.
- Pilot audits: to test the feasibility of the proposed requirements and the related verification procedures in real-life operational scenarios, a series of pilot audits will be performed between February and August 2020. The auditors and auditees will be selected through open calls and from within the project’s consortium partners. It is planned to perform around 17 European and 3 non-European pilot audits (WP4 – Validation and Roadmap).
- Final version of the CEWASTE certification scheme: Based on the lessons learnt from the pilots and the comments received from the online consultation process, the final version of the CEWASTE certification scheme will be available in October 2020.
- Develop a roadmap for the long-term sustainability of the scheme: This roadmap will include recommendations for the necessary amendments to existing mechanisms, recommendations for the financing mechanisms relevant to products, resources and waste, as well as economic and environmental benefits of the implementation of the voluntary scheme.
- Communication and dissemination activities will be continued in the second year of the project. The final version of the certification scheme will be presented and disseminated in a final public event to be held in October 2020.
By addressing normative requirements specific for CRMs in the entire value chain, the CEWASTE certification scheme aims at identifying best practices in the sustainable collection of products containing valuable and CRMs and the production of secondary resources of these materials. When adopted, this will foster the creation of a level playing field in EU and creation of a favorable environment for investment in new collection and recovery technologies. This will particularly have an impact on the channelling of material flows to players able to recover valuable and CRMs and avoiding dissipation along the end-of-life chain. With this, the recovery rates of the target materials through collection and recycling and their reintroduction into the EU economy will be increased. Moreover, operating according to standards will set the rules for fair competition, which in turn will have a positive impact on employment.