United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

RECYCLING4ALL: a circular economy project focused on people

Private sector

    Our project responds to the need for industrial transformation in the recycling sector, in which innovation in processes, technology, at the same time that we will contribute to the objective of reducing waste, challenge of our current society, generating jobs for groups with more difficulties in accessing the employment such as people with disabilities and women in the industrial sector.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    The project covers 5 clearly differentiated areas of action: 1. The modernization and improvement of the La Bañeza WEEE treatment plant, in Castilla y León. The action to modernize the Bañeza plant is made up of a series of projects that seek 3 objectives: increasing the efficiency of the treatment processes, increasing the safety of the facilities, and improving energy efficiency and use of resources. 2. The modernization and improvement of the Campo Real WEEE treatment plant, in the Community of Madrid. The modernization of the Campo Real plant consists of a series of projects that seek 3 objectives: the adaptation of the plant for the treatment of new WEEE (specifically cold equipment), the increase in the efficiency of the treatment processes and improving energy efficiency and use of resources. This will achieve a total transformation of the current plant, which will involve a redesign of the layout and internal material flows, and an integration of existing processes with new processes, which will incorporate the most innovative WEEE treatment technology existing in the market. 3. The modernization and improvement of the logistics companies Taxileon and Logiraees, based in León, Castilla y León, and which have 9 Temporary Storage Centers in León, Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Valencia, Bilbao, Málaga, Mérida, Vigo and Santiago of Compostela. The modernization action of the Taxileon and Logiraees companies is made up of a series of projects that seek 2 objectives: to deepen the digital transformation of both organizations and the adaptation of the machinery and the sustainable vehicle fleet to the expected increase in activity. 4. The creation of two new WEEE recycling plants in other Autonomous Communities: Valencian Community and Andalusia. The creation of 2 new treatment plants, in Andalusia and the Valencian Community, aims to increase the installed treatment capacity in our country, to provide the sector with the necessary capacity to assume the volume of WEEE that our country generates. These two plants will have the latest technology available on the market, which will guarantee the most efficient and complete treatment of all types of WEEE. 5. The development of R&D projects related to the treatment of WEEE and its output fractions, specifically photovoltaic solar panels, plastic waste and PUR. The developments of R&D projects aim to solve 2 problems: on the one hand, the growing need to treat WEEE from the dismantling of solar panels that have finished their useful life, and on the other hand, the current difficulties to dispose of to plastic waste and PUR from WEEE treatment. With them, we hope to set up specific treatment lines for each of these materials, thus providing a much-needed solution at this time to the WEEE sector.


    The main objective of this project is to accelerate a response to a growing social and environmental problem, thanks to innovation in disruptive technologies in the process of treatment and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment, to the development of innovation projects that provide solutions to waste whose growth will be exponential in the framework of the current energy transition, and to projects related to the energy efficiency of the treatment processes themselves and sustainable mobility. Bearing in mind digitization as a lever for growth and innovation of the processes. With the construction of the two new plants planned, it is expected to treat 21,000 Tn of WEEE in Andalusia, and 18,000 Tn of WEEE in C. Valenciana. Likewise, with the expansion of the cold line at the Campo Real plant, we will increase current production by 7,000 tons of WEEE. In this way, the aim is to increase the current WEEE recovery rates in Spain, which are 43%, to reach the 65% proposed by the European Union, optimizing the efficiency of existing processes and expanding the installed WEEE treatment capacity in our country in more than 46,000 tons per year. Likewise, the project will contribute to the reduction of 25% CO2 from the current emissions of the vehicle fleet. Finally, the creation of 146 new jobs would be achieved, prioritizing the hiring of people with greater difficulties in accessing employment, mainly people with disabilities and women. Existing WEEE treatment plants: • Selection of technologies and evaluation of suppliers • Delivery of reports to the AA.PP. competent • Execution and implementation • Start up New WEEE treatment plants: • Acquisition of land • Selection of technologies and evaluation of suppliers • Process and facilities engineering project • Delivery of reports to the AA.PP. competent • Execution and implementation • Start up New photovoltaic panel treatment line: • Component analysis: fundamentally you encapsulated • Prospecting study. Current technologies and associated challenges • Technological development (R&D). Laboratory tests and pilot tests • Engineering study Recycling and recovery of polymeric fractions • Stream analysis • Prospecting study. Current technologies and associated challenges for the correct recovery of this waste based on its nature and composition. • Technological development (R&D). Laboratory tests and pilot tests • Engineering study

    Enabling factors and constraints

    Regarding the proposed improvements for the treatment plants, the reasons why there are no similar projects at present is, firstly, because of the high investment effort required to carry them out, and secondly, because The vast majority of companies that are dedicated to the treatment of WEEE focus on the treatment of the simplest types of waste and mostly of a non-hazardous nature, leaving aside the hazardous waste due to its high treatment cost and lower profitability. But it is important to note that it is precisely this waste (cold equipment, and cathode ray tube televisions), the dangerous, the one that pollutes the most and, therefore, the one that requires greater attention and dedication if what is intended is to generate greater environmental impact. As for photovoltaic panels, it should be noted that their useful life is about 20 years, therefore, the current demand for photovoltaic panel recyclers is not very high. Some authors point out that there is not enough critical mass for a treatment plant for this WEEE to be justified today. However, as will be shown in the part of the Market Report, we foresee that the demand in the short term will be very large. Regarding polymeric fractions, the main reason is that these are not the most valuable components of WEEE, therefore all industry efforts to date have focused on other more interesting fractions from an economic point of view such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals. To this must be added the greater difficulty of separating plastics from metals, which complicates and makes a development for these materials more expensive. However, recently there have been relevant changes in the legislation applicable to plastics, which prompts us to seek a definitive solution for this output fraction. The critical factors of the project are those derived from the administrative procedures before the different Public Administrations to obtain the necessary permits, authorizations and licenses to carry out a recycling activity. These critical factors are indicated in the previous schedule within the Phase "Start of administrative procedures" of the projects: • Project for new RAEES treatment plants • Photovoltaic panel recycling line • Valorization of polymeric currents

    Sustainability and replicability

    The need for the measures to be implemented is imposed by the essential of the transition towards the circular economy and the reuse of waste to obtain new resources that can be reused without the need to extract them from nature. Specifically, WEEE is the type of waste that increases the most every year and, for this reason, actions and projects that directly impact this waste will have a greater positive effect on the environment. Nor can we forget that technology, which is the basis for the development of new electrical and electronic devices, is constantly changing, so that the companies that are dedicated to the treatment of WEEE are obliged to innovate to achieve the best treatment (that is, the highest rate of material recovery) of each type of WEEE, no matter how innovative the device that falls into our hands. Legislation that further favors the circular economy and penalizes ineffective recycling processes is expected in the coming years. Therefore, it is a necessity to anticipate this trend, and it is also a competitive advantage in all aspects, since we would compete on costs, but also on issues of social awareness and corporate social responsibility.

    COVID-19 Impact

    Took us a lillte more time to close several agreements, but once signed is on going¡¡

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 January 2021 (start date)
    31 December 2023 (date of completion)
    Other beneficiaries

    First of all, people, with the creation of more than 146 jobs for vulnerable groups, prioritizing the hiring of people with greater difficulties of access to employment, mainly people with disabilities and women.

    More information
    Contact Information

    IGNACIO , Head Corporate Relations