NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Energy Efficient Recycling of Electric and Electronic Scrap, E-Scrap [NDF C3 B7]

The project aims to increase recycling of electric and electronic scrap (e-scrap) while improving local environmental conditions, livelihood and health conditions for e-scrap workers and poor neighbouring societies.

Energy efficient recycling of electric and electronic scrap, e -scrap
Ref: NDF C3 B7

Nordic Partner: Raw Materials Group AB (Sweden)
Local Partner: Environment Protection Agency and Green Advocacy Ghana
Other Partner: Swedish Geological AB, Ericsson AB, Boliden AB, Datec Technologies Ltd, Dell Emerging Markets EMEA, Hewlett Packard South Africa Ltd, Nokia South Africa Ltd, and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications
Total Project Cost: EUR 669,610
NCF Financing: EUR 480,033
Agreement Signed: 27 October 2010
Project Classification: Climate change mitigation
Duration: 29 months (completed)

Project Objective

Reduced climate footprint by increased recycling of electric and electronic scrap (e-scrap) while improving local environmental conditions, livelihood and health conditions for e-scrap workers and poor neighbouring societies.


E-scrap (secondary raw materials) is a valuable source of raw materials, as it contains valuable concentrations of metals. The handling of e-scrap in Ghana is typically done by poor people working in the informal sector using simple manual methods, including open burning of flammable e-scrap components, at sites that expose them to hazardous and toxic substances and which pollutes land, water and air.

Currently only a fraction of the metals are recycled. The extraction of metals from e-scrap requires much less energy than the extraction from virgin ores, e.g. the extraction of the same amounts of metal from secondary raw materials requires, depending on the different metals, between 50 and 90% less energy than the extraction from primary raw materials.

While mainly a capacity building project, the project has reduced directly the climate footprint by some 90-100 tCO2eq/a due to more energy efficient and sustainable recycling processes to extract metals from e-scrap. Furthermore, by establishing more efficient handling and dismantling methods the project will also improve e-scrap workers health and safety, and alleviate poverty through improved livelihood conditions.

It was assessed that recycling of other Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (mainly Fe, Al and Cu from WEE,) could theoretically save up to some 100,000 tonnes of CO2e/a in Ghana. Assuming that it were possible to recycle all Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) entering the market without delays in storage or dumping and assuming the EEE growth rate in Ghana is some 8-10% for the coming 5 years, the savings potential would be in the order of up to 400,000 tonnes by 2017. For the whole of Africa, the total potential savings could be considerable.

Relevance for Climate Change

The extraction of metals from recycled materials reduces energy consumption, and thus the climate footprint. The project can lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions through i) increased volumes of e-scrap output and state of the art modern refineries and smelting facilities that use environment friendly and energy efficient methods to extract metals; ii) improved recycling methods that prevent open burning activities and unintended emissions; and iii) improved recycling methods that increase the recovery of materials not currently recovered.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

The project’s innovative feature is that it was the first time a project related to e-scrap in developing countries focuses on the e-scrap as a valuable resource. Furthermore, it is also the first time in a developing country were the climate aspect of extracting metals from e-scarp is acknowledged in a project through the energy savings potential. An awareness/training centre will be constructed during the project, and capacity building and training are important project components that will help the e-scarp workers recycle more valuable materials more efficiently, with improved methods. As the number on people that can be reached during the project was limited, and the needs in Ghana as a whole are larger, the knowledge gained will help provide for a spread beyond what was achievable is this project.

Presentation on e-scrap project in Ghana (in pdf)

For more information

Responsible Recycling
Raw Materials Group AB
Ghana Environment Protection Agency

Green Advocacy Ghana