In Europe there is a high dependency on semiconductors, especially in the automotive industry and in household and consumer electronics. Old electronics are currently being recycled as electrical scrap (WEEE = Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and are used more as raw materials. There is almost no reuse of components such as semiconductors. In order to make this practice more sustainable, recycling and end-of-life as well as the remanufacturing of components or recycling must be considered at the design stage. This approach is intended to make the EU less dependent on the mining of critical raw materials and to reduce dependency on suppliers outside the EU. In the EU project CIRC-UITS, OFFIS is working, among other things, on a decision-making tool that supports the sustainable recycling of Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) and makes the complex interdependencies visible. Digital technologies offer the possibility of bringing together the required information from several sources and making it available for the respective application. At the same time, target values can be calculated and compared in order to digitally support the change to recycling. Contradictory objectives are weighed against each other, such as the service life and the amount of recycled raw materials. The decision tool is used in case studies from the automotive industry and household electronics in order to validate the results in practice and to determine real potential. Furthermore, OFFIS is involved in the development of serious games, which present the results of the project to both a specialist audience and the general public in a playful way, in order to convey the basic principles of recycling electronics.
The project is funded under the Horizon Europe funding program.