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Supported by a grant from Norway through the Norway Grants 20092014, in the frame of Green Industry Innovation Programme Romania

Project Title: WISE WEEE – Green Environmental Technology Project Promoter: Ateliere Fara Frontiere Partner (s): STIFTELSEN SINTEF Project region: Bucharest, Romania Project Contract date: 12.08.2014 Total project duration: 16 months – from September 2014 to December 2015 Total eligible expenses: 199 533 EUR Total grant approved: EUR 175 000 (87.7%) Co-financing: EUR 24 533 (12.3%)

SUMMARY • Project aim……………..………………2

• Framework …………….………………9 • Stakeholders…………….……………13

• Methodology……………………………19 • Outcomes………………..…………..22 • Perspectives………………..………27


Today, there is more gold in people’s drawers than in the world’s goldmines. And as we all know, the goldmines, or mines in general, are not situated on the European continent. At international level, experts talk about a true war for resources and raw materials, speculation, embargo, overexploitation, and still we continue to waste resources, energy, food… generating huge waste. While rare and precious metals utilisation has considerably increased and the natural reserves become very rare, recyclable waste continues to be landfilled; the European commission estimates that only in Europe between 200-400 tones of copper have been landfilled. On the other hand, the vast and ever increasing use of personal computers, laptops and tablets does and will create a great amount of electronic waste (that’s W.E.E.E, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) with many critical and valuable elements, rare metals and rare earth that are needed and can be re-processed in the industry (iron, copper, gold, platinum, selenium, aluminium, nickel, palladium, tantalum, etc.).

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Unfortunately, adequate recovery of these elements from electronic waste is not achieved yet. Many of the critical metals examined in this study, especially the rare earths and tantalum, are reported to have total end-of-life recycling rates of less than 1%. When HDDs are recycled by a standard recycling process in industry, rare earths and tantalum are lost, whereas only 30% of gold and other precious metals are recovered. This is because the standard process carries out shredding of different components with different chemical composition which are then mixed.


The only metals that are efficiently recovered are steel, aluminium, copper and the part of the precious metals that by coincidence follow copper parts, which corresponds to a third of their total content. The W.I.S.E W.E.E.E project aims to prove that it is possible and important to keep maximum value and engineering locally, to support the local and labour market, not to send most of the value abroad. Against the backdrop of the importance of certain metals and other raw materials for many future technologies and the concurrent scarcity of these resources, the European Commission has classified a selection of fourteen raw materials as being particularly significant and critical (EC 2010. In view of the potential or expected difficulties attached to the supply of these critical raw materials, recovery of the raw materials from waste products is very important. Platinum group metals (Pt, Pd, Ir, Rh), rare earth elements (La, Ce, Nd, Nb etc), and tantalum (Ta) are among the most crucial elements.



The main objective of the project is to improve the material efficiency and waste management through the development of new products based on recycled e-waste at Ateliere Fara Frontiere, and a more efficient and responsible use of natural resources and the retrieval of valuable secondary materials. That’s wise. But W.I.S.E also means Work Integration Social Enterprise, that’s what the project beneficiary, Ateliere Fara Frontiere, is: a Non Profit Organization which main goal is to give a fresh start in life to men and women with a disability, chronic diseases, family or justice related problems, addictions‌ in Bucharest where exclusion and discrimination are fierce. Therefore, the W.I.SE. W.E.E.E project is also about creating new positive and green jobs, organizing a new recycling work unit to provide social added value along with economical value. This new activity has been chosen because it is a good support for empowerment, giving basic skills and general abilities necessary for a sustainable professional integration.




design/ production



consumer Circular Economy The recent concept of circular economy is an alternative to the traditional/linear economy. Resources are used for a longer period of time, maximizing the value chain and increasing competition. It is a solution for extending the lifespan of wasted products by avoiding: • Transformation to waste • Acquiring new products before they are necessary While contributing to: • Saving natural and rare resources • Preventing pollution • Offering products at reasonable prices • Fighting against social exclusion and poverty • Creating jobs, especially among the disadvantaged


This concept is at the heart of european strategies for the responsible management of resources, and more widely the fight against pollution and global warming. The European Commission has just adopted, on december 2nd, 2015, an ambitious Circular Economy Package, which includes revised legislative proposals on waste to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. Social entrepreneurship A Work Integration Social Enterprise is a form of social enterprise. Social entrepreneurship aims at creating a sustainable economic activity to address social and environment needs (access to health, energy, housing, fighting waste, long term unemployment, etc.). Whatever legislative status they may adopt (Non Profit organization, cooperative, company, etc.), social enterprises are making efforts to deliver economic performance in order to efficiently and sustainably address challenges that neither the state, nor the private sector can solve by themselves.



This concept is promoted by the EU and has aplication laws in most of the european countries. Even the Romanian parliament has voted the national law in 2014, which should be followed soon by the application terms. Sustainable development

The "W.I.S.E.W.E.E.E.project is at the heart of sustainable development, because it is combining the three pillars : •

economic interests: collecting, recycling and refurbishing services to our customers and partners, getting more value from the W.E.E.E. scraps we dismantle social interests – hire more people in great difficulty, train them on a more added value activity, that will give them better employment perspectives after the work integration program environmental interests - go further in the recycling process in Romania, which will prevent from exporting abroad large quantities of scraps, when they can be treated locally with the right engineering.


Ateliere Fara Frontiere (AFF) is a romanian Non Profit Organisation, based on the Work Integration Social Enterprise (WISE) model. The organisation's purpose is to create jobs for disadvantaged people, and prepare them for social and professional integration on the labour market. In the Bucharest Work Integration workshop, launched in 2009, we have hired more than 150 people in difficulty who have been working or still work within our three production units, which are all related to waste management (WEEE, advertizing waste, organic waste). ATELIERE FARA FRONTIERE’s workers in the Work Integration program are people who, despite a wrong start or a life accident that impeaches them to find and keep a job, are working hard towards rebuilding their lives. The unemployment rate in Romania is one of Europe's lowest, but the poverty rate is the second highest. The people who don't fit in are left behind, with almost no social benefits or integration opportunities. Discriminated, they survive through begging or illegal jobs, and live hand to mouth, especially when they have kids. In Bucharest, rent is high, salaries are very low & social contributions aren't paid. These facts don't show in the official figures, allowing the authorities to do nothing.



Employees in the work integration program benefit from a real and clean job experience, personalized counseling, training and a job placement program. The workshop activities are focused on waste reduction and solidarity, but are more widely chosen to make a good support for empowerment, giving basic professional skills and general abilities necessary for a sustainable professional integration.

The SINTEF Group is the largest independent contract research organization in Scandinavia with more than 2000 employees, of which the SINTEF Foundation has approximately 1200. The fields of research are technology, natural science, medicine and social science. Contracts for industry and the public sector generated more than 90% of the income. SINTEF collaborates closely with Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).The co-operation is characterized by mutual use of personnel, laboratories and equipment. SINTEF Materials and Chemistry - a research division within the SINTEF Group - is heavily involved in, and puts strategic emphasis on sustainable recycling and recovery of waste.


NORWAY GRANTS, INNOVATION NORWAY and the Green Industry Innovation Programme The WISE WEEE project is financed through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism (Norway Grants), contributing to reduce economic and social disparities and to strengthening bilateral relations between Romania and Norway. The grant value amount for the project is of 175.000 euro, on a 199.533 euro overall budget. The Green Industry Innovation Programme for Romania will contribute to the overall objective of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 which is to contribute to the reduction of economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area (EEA) and to strengthen the bilateral relations between Norway and Romania. The Programme complies with the Agreement between the Kingdom of Norway and the European Union on the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014, the Regulation on the implementation of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 and the Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism between Norway and Romania.



The objective of the Programme is to increase competitiveness of green enterprises, including greening of existing industries, green innovation and green entrepreneurship. The programme strategy is in line with Romanian national policies. The expected outcome of the Programme is realisation of business opportunities of greening the European economy. The Green Industry Innovation Programme for Romania is operated by Innovation Norway, a public company owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry and all the Norwegian County Municipalities. The Programme content has been developed in consultation with the National Focal Point (ministry of European Funds) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business Environment.


W.I.S.E W.E.E.E has been started as a pilot project, aiming at testing on a small scale the feasability and profitability of a new recycling approach, based on more work intensive added value work organization. More specifically, we designed and tested a Win Win Win Win project that could help save valuable resources, protect the environment, provide new positive jobs to vulnerable people, and increase the compettitiveness of Ateliere Fara frontiere at the same time. A pilot project for what we could call a european „green industry social innovation program” that may be at the origin of a vertuous circular economy flow in Europe. The first important questions which arose where: • which unusable computer parts contain most valuable materials ? • what is the chemical nature and the quantity of this valuable materials ? • where is it most concentrated? Then, we focused on how to extract or recycle this valuable materials in order to develop an improved added value activity. Valuable materials that contain most of the rare earth, precious metals etc. are a new secondary product, which in the end can be sold on the market instead of being disposed as waste.



The project contributes to the efficient use of natural resources and compensates for carbon emission.

It has been accomplished in three stages: 1. In the first one, Ateliere Fara Frontiere has provided SINTEF, with representative samples from separate computer parts. The samples have been chemically analyzed and the content and nature of the valuable materials have been estimated. Based on the results the most valuable parts have been selected. 2. The second stage has been on a thorough literature survey describing the most feasible and simple process to recycle those specific part(s) 3. The procedure has been implemented at Ateliere Fara Frontiere during the third stage. In this stage, a new dismantling unit has been implemented together with a training of the Ateliere Fara Frontiere employees by SINTEF experts on the process and HSE issues.


Laptops and PCs are composed of several components and more than 2,000 individual parts (PCs). Taken together, these contain a wide range of elements. Results gained from the chemical analysis show that several components of e-waste are interesting and represent a great potential for critical materials recovery. The main focus here should be placed at dismantling of Hard Disc Drives (HDD) for separate recycling of the consisting components which include PCBs, magnet brackets, magnets, casing, cover, etc. and for extraction of tantalum capacitors from other kinds of PCBs (motherboards, optical drives, etc.). To recover critical metals (precious metals, tantalum, rare earth elements) protect resources it is recommended that PCs, laptops and tablets should be manually disassembled to the greatest extent possible. Besides the legally stipulated detoxification (removal of the display and batteries), the assembled motherboard and potentially the PCBs for the drive and hard disks should be removed and fed into a suitable recycling process.



Tantalum: Assembled PCBs contain a range of other metals in addition to the precious metals. In terms of critical raw materials, tantalum is of particular importance. Tantalum is used in high capacity capacitors. As it cannot be recovered in the refining process for precious metals, this element is completely lost during recycling. The value of Ta capacitors is about 160 $ per kg. This product alone can increase the revenue of AFF and make it possible to increase the labour force. Magnets: Recycling the Hard Disk Drives is of particular importance for reasons of resource conservation. Rare earth elements consist about 23-30% of permanent magnets which are mainly used in HDDs and optical discs. These magnets are voice coil accelerators and spindle motors. According to Kara et al. (2010), [10] over 30% of the neodymium used in 2008 was destined for Hard Disk magnets. The proportion was around 35% in 2003. This means that hard disks represent an important potential secondary source of raw materials for neodymium (and to a certain extent also praseodymium and dysprosium). The reason for this importance is that other applications containing neodymium, such as wind turbines and hybrid and electric vehicles have not currently reached the end-oflife stage in any quantity.


Besides removing the magnets, the manual dismantling of Hard Disks also leads to a noticeable increase in the quality of the aluminium, stainless steel and PCB fractions. It should be borne in mind that large-sized hard disk drives have considerably larger quantities of important raw materials than do laptop hard disk drives. Manual disassembly should therefore focus primarily on 3.5 inch hard disks (those from desktop PCs and computing centres). HSE issues during the recommended activities should be carefully addressed. A list of the necessary tools and equipment to perform the work according to HSE guidelines is provided in the technical literature provided by SINTEF within the project.



Successful implementation of the project contributes to the overall objectives of the Norway Grants 2009-2014, reducing economic and social disparities in the EEA by creating conditions for developing highly qualified human resources with relevant industrial and experimental knowledge, and establishing cooperation with research entities, including interdisciplinary cooperation. This project creates a good basis for further cooperation beyond the actual pilot phase - a basis for common sector-wide initiatives, cooperation with other European companies to contribute to further development of environmentally friendly technologies.


Project website: Ateliere Fara Frontiere’s website: SINTEF’s website:

Innovatioon Norway’s website: Norway grants Green Industry Innovation Programme’s website:

For any information on the project please contact M. Patrick Ouriaghli at Ateliere Fara Frontiere: Email: Phone: +40.314.259.010 Adress: Sos Oltenitei nr 105 (INTEC) sector 4, Bucurest

WISE WEEE – Green Environmental Innovation Supported by a grant from Norway through the Norway Grants 2009-2014, in the frame of Green Industry Innovation Programme Romania

Profile for Ateliere Fara Frontiere

WISE WEEE booklet  

reducing waste and recycling work integration for disadvantaged people

WISE WEEE booklet  

reducing waste and recycling work integration for disadvantaged people