Circular Economy for the Data Industry

  • Project no.451473
  • Duration 10/2018 - 07/2023

The Data Centre Industry has grown rapidly and generates a large volume of eWaste / WEEE. The current infrastructure for dealing with this waste is underdeveloped and consequently, there is a real and urgent need to address this now. CEDaCI will build a Circular Economy for the Data Centre Industry (DCI) by bringing together stakeholders from all equipment life cycle stages to turn this waste into a useful resource and support the ongoing rapid growth of the DCI.

The Data Centre Industry is concentrated in North-West Europe (NWE), especially UK, Germany, France & Netherlands. The replacement of DC equipment contributes substantially to the production of WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment), one of the fastest growing waste streams. WEEE contains Critical Raw Materials (CRM) of high technical & economic importance & vulnerable to supply disruption, usually exported or sent to landfill at end of life.

CEDaCI will facilitate the implementation of a Circular Economy for CRM in NWE and reduce the environmental impact arising from the growth in redundant equipment, by simultaneously increasing materials recovery, reducing use of virgin materials and developing a secure and economically viable CRM supply chain. This will be achieved by bringing together all stakeholders (designers, manufacturers, operators, refurbishers, recyclers) in a knowledge-sharing network that, thanks to a Co-creation Platform and three integrated Pilots:

  • Pilot A: Design for Circular Economy, UK
  • Pilot B: Refurbishment, NL
  • Pilot C: Recycling and reclamation of CRM, FR

A Decision Making Tool (DMT) for all DC sub-sectors will be developed to optimise CE business models and improve refurbishment, recycling and reclamation strategies for WEEE and CRM. Bespoke technical assistance (DMT training sessions) for 50 DCI businesses will be conducted. Advice and guidelines for policy-influencers and makers will be derived.

The Wuppertal Institute leads the co-creation activities, Decision Making Tool development and testing.


Further project information


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