A Digital Product Passport for Critical Raw Materials Reuse and Recycling

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A Digital Product Passport for Critical Raw Materials Reuse and Recycling

Article publish at Sustainability, January 11th  2023

Title: A Digital Product Passport for Critical Raw Materials Reuse and Recycling

Language: English

The reuse and recycling of critical raw materials is limited, as waste electrical and electronic
recycling focuses on base and precious metals, and device component reuse is in its infancy. To
help to address this issue this paper provides the conceptual design of a Digital Product Passport
based circular supply management system. To enable the recovery of critical raw materials at
component and material levels for reuse and recycling. The works include an assessment of existing
critical raw materials information management and an information needs identification survey,
with 10 manufacturers, producer responsibility organisations, collectors and recyclers. The needs
were used to generate 14 key product information management processes and exchanges that when
implemented form a Digital Product Passport based circular supply management system. Information
managed via a physical-digital linkage through individual product tags includes product registrations,
materials declarations, life cycle status updates, the sorting of products at collection points based
on critical raw material contents, and flagging of products for critical raw materials component
extraction. A dataspace-based IT systems architecture is proposed for the implementation of the
supply management system taking into account global and European information standards. Finally,
key challenges to implement such an IT architecture are discussed.

Keywords: circular economy; digital product passport; recycling; reuse; critical raw materials; waste
electrical and electronic equipment; dataspaces