DOE introduces prize to encourage recycling of electronic scrap

March 8, 2024
Only 17.4% of e-scrap was collected and recycled globally in 2019, meaning that $57 billion in raw material was discarded.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has introduced the Electronics Scrap Recycling Advancement Prize (E-SCRAP). The program will award up to $4 million to applicants to “substantially increase the production and use of critical materials recovered from electronic scrap—or e-scrap.” According to the DOE, only 17.4% of e-scrap was collected and recycled globally in 2019, meaning that $57 billion in raw material was discarded. E-SCRAP has been divided into three phases: incubate, prototype, and demonstrate. During phase 1, which begins now, entrants will propose solutions that can increase the amount of recovered critical materials from electronic waste and used in U.S. manufacturing.  Cash prizes and assistance are awarded to applicants during phase 1 and 2. Applications are due September 4, 2024, at 5 p.m. EST with up to 10 projects being selected and awarded $50,000 in cash and up to $30,000 in national laboratory analysis support.

In a recent quote, Jeff Marootian, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy said, “This prize addresses the urgent need to reduce the amount of critical mineral waste that goes unrecycled in the technologies we use every day. We’re excited to see how ideas and solutions spurred by the competition can transform this huge environmental loss into new opportunities to recover and recycle critical materials from devices that are discarded after use.” 

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