21 Mar 2022
DEScycle announces e-waste recycling joint venture with GAP Group
Descycle is delighted to announce its first e-waste recycling joint venture with GAP Group, a UK recycling and waste management business. The partnership will tackle the inherent environmental impact of the world’s fastest growing waste stream, electronic waste (e-waste). The process will recycle printed circuit boards and other high value electrical waste using Descycle’s novel clean technology. Ultimately, positively contributing the Sustainable Development Goals identified by the United Nations.
E-waste is the world's fastest growing waste stream, producing £43Bn annually of metal rich waste. The conventional recycling of e-waste is environmentally impactful, discharging large quantities of CO2 and metal particulates and uses significant water and electricity.
The UK is the world’s second highest generator of e-waste per capita yet it has little to no domestic recycling capacity for the contained metals. These metals are crucial for low carbon technologies such as electric vehicle batteries.
Descycle and GAP have signed Joint Venture terms to implement this revolutionary technology into the UK. The technology is based on a new class of chemistry known as Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES). The use of Descycle’s technology will allow, for the first time, local recycling businesses to fully recycle metals from e-waste – rather than selling and transporting e-waste to major metal smelters in Europe and North America.
Dr Leo Howden, Descycle Managing Director, said: “We are creating circular economies at the local scale, where previously recyclers have had to rely upon the global juggernauts of the metals industry to fully recycle precious and critical metals. We are thrilled at the prospect of what can be achieved by our partnership with GAP. They have demonstrated that they have the vision and the track record to provide an excellent platform to deliver this technology. Changing the whole dynamic of the e-waste market is a bold statement but one both Descycle and GAP can achieve with this amazing technology”.
GAP will be contributing their commercial expertise and sector experience. Together our businesses will address e-waste recycling’s historic deficiencies with the use of toxic chemicals, producing CO2 emissions and the high energy consumption of traditional recycling methods.
GAP managing director Peter Moody said: “We are constantly on the look-out for new ways to innovate our processes and will continue to invest in the future to protect the environment whilst at the same time maintain our commercial advantage. I’m delighted that we can lead the way with Descycle disrupting the market, especially as the critical metals in e-waste are notoriously difficult to recycle, requiring large smelting facilities with a billion dollar price tag. The prospect of being able to do this onsite, with an affordable CAPEX and a potentially zero carbon process is tremendously exciting and will be a globally significant disruption for the recycling industry. Plans are for the first commercial plant to start construction by 2024.”
Dr Rob Harris, Descycle Chief Technology Officer said: “We founded Descycle when we saw the gigantic positive impact DES could have across the metals extraction and recycling industries. DES is a platform chemistry which will not only replace toxic chemicals, such as cyanide, but also by-pass the use of pollutive smelters. This will translate to metals being produced with a far smaller carbon footprint. The process has the potential to be zero carbon and requires far less financial investment. Attributes that will be game changing for the recycling industry.”