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iNEMI’s value recovery from used electronics project published a significant report this month detailing how the project successfully demonstrated a viable process toward the development of a multi-stakeholder circular economy for used hard disk drives (HDDs). By leveraging the knowledge and expertise of the diverse team the project:
- Constructed a set of decision trees to identify the options (pathways) at each step in the value recovery chain.
- Developed economic models, life cycle assessments and logistics models to determine which value recovery options generate the highest value/profit by type and size of drive.
- Executed demonstration projects to prove the efficacy of major critical-to-market circular economy pathways.
The work accomplished by the demonstration project teams is especially significant, going beyond the theoretical to prove feasibility of major value recovery pathways. The five demonstration teams were able to successfully: reuse magnet assemblies, recover intact magnets for non-HDD use, make magnets from magnets and shred, make rare earth oxides from HDD magnets, and develop business models that would allow functioning HDDs to be reused/resold after secure, verifiable, economically viable data wiping. This work is a true example of how a commitment to the circular economy across the supply chain can succeed.